Amother Day

No kiss on Earth holds the same magical power as a mother’s. I didn’t feel anything noticeable happen along those lines. No tingling, no sudden ray of light accompanied by angelic singing. Still, I found that as my son grew mobile and the inevitable bump brought along tears, a kiss generally did the trick. Now that he can speak, it’s mandatory. Sometimes I wonder if the boo boo is even there, but I kiss where I’m instructed and ask if that’s better, and I generally get a “yes.” He now feels duty bound to hunt me down when I say “ouch” to administer his own careful, sloppy kiss. He has figured out that it’s the kiss that’s key.

I’m also puzzling out how in the world my scolding “mama voice” flows from me so naturally. One would think that years of study would have gone into it, but no, out it slips making me sound like a full initiate of the secret archives of motherhood tricks. I even whipped out the “count to three” today, surprised that it worked, first of all, and nervous that he’d call my bluff and let me get to three. I have no idea what happens at three. I must have slept through that class in my motherhood training.

Today my husband treated me to breakfast in bed, my son gave me a handmade book personally decorated, and I was allowed to ignore what chores I didn’t feel like doing. That’s the sort of daydream day I tell myself fantasy stories about when my work is too intense. “Someday,” I say to myself, “you’re going to get a night filled with as much sleep as you want…” etc. I had my day. At long last, the answer was yes, here you go. What a surprise then to find myself struggling.

I got to play with my son, which is somehow both relaxing and exhausting, and I’m not sure why or how to describe that better. I struggled with headaches but that’s not unusual. We slept in so late, as a family, that it didn’t make sense to put our son down for a nap, which of course made the last parts of the evening more difficult and tear-filled than usual and several magical kisses had to be administered to get through it. I lost my temper with my husband over a miscommunication while trying to coordinate the bedtime ritual.

On a day where all of the pressure that usually perches on my shoulders was shuffled out of sight I had expected myself to perform this mama role with ease. It was a good day. It was even relaxing, in parts. I laughed and smiled, and my two year old son was surprisingly helpful in a plant transplanting project. My husband took care of much needed things on our endless to-do list. My son-to-be wiggled around in my growing belly at all of the most convenient moments. I got snuggles from each of the cats. Yet I sit here now wishing for… what?

In all, this Mother’s Day was probably a perfect lesson in motherhood. It’s magical, instinctive, baffling, fulfilling and exhausting, and at the end of the day I run through the events and wonder if I got anything right. I suppose that, right there, is the reason why declaring a national day of recognition for mothers was a concept that took off.

Here’s to you, sisterhood of mothers. For every one of you who have muscled through losing sleep, holding bottles until your arms go numb, juggling more than is reasonable for a human to keep in the air, worrying about losing your cool, offering safe arms to soothe hurt limbs and feelings alike, administering magical kisses… thank you. I have to believe that each and every one of those acts helped to bring about a better world.

Happy Mother’s Day.