Mother’s Day is bouquets of fresh flowers, the pitter-patter of little feet running through the house while Mama half-dozes, giggling outside the bedroom door, handmade cards, a mocha coffee delivered bedside, and a bagel brunch on the back deck with thoughtful gifts and sweet words. It’s lovely and divine.
But this year, I discovered the night before could also dish up its own spot-on, hilarious tribute to motherhood:
We were sitting around the table picking at the last bits of Chinese takeout, when my husband and I heard a small but persistent voice from the bathroom.
“Just a sec, honey…” I said, as we continued chatting about our plans for the week ahead.
“A little help here?” the voice called out again.
And then, “Mama?”
Finally, taking the hint, I joined my 4-year old throne-side.
“Um, I had a little accident, Mama… sorry.”
I looked down and saw his Super Mario briefs lying on the floor—looking remarkably accident-free.
“No problem, Sweetie,” I said, scrunching a handful of toilet paper into my palm so I could help him.
“You know what, Mama? I saved Lego bag number 3 so you could help me tonight since Papa already got to help me… and tomorrow, you can give me a bath because it’s gonna be Mother’s Day and usually Papa does that… so tomorrow will be special.”
I smiled at his concept of Mother’s Day. As I wiped him, he continued to chirp away, using a tone most women reserve for the nail salon. “And I’m working on a secret art project but I can’t tell you about it,” he said, “because it’s a surprise and…”
I thought back to earlier in the day and my older son’s sad eyes when he heard that Mama wouldn’t be at his baseball game. My husband explained that I was going to take the afternoon off and go shopping, as an early Mother’s Day present. But one look at that face and I changed my plans.
“I’ll join you at the park,” I’d told him.
As it turned out, I never had to leave. En route to the park, his tummy started hurting. With vomit an imminent possibility, my husband quickly drove him home to be under the watchful eye of Mama.
“Mateo!” my husband called from the kitchen, rousing me from my reverie. “Don’t tell Mama everything.”
“I’m not, Papa,” he shouted back.
“I have a special, surprise Lego project,” he flashed his little imp smile. “That’s what I mean,” and continued his beauty shop banter.
“Ok, that’s it,” I said. “Time to flush and wash your hands, mon cheri,” and I stepped away to wash my own.
But as my foot came down, it suddenly slid in the opposite direction.
A delicate stripe of brown “mud” streaked across the floor.
Except. It. Wasn’t. Mud.
I managed to keep it together while reaching for the Lysol wipes.
“It’s OK honey, I’ll just clean that up.”
As I wiped the floor and cleaned out the grooves in the treads of my slipper, I heard the water running in the background.
“Here, Mama! I’ll help you, ” he said, holding a sopping wet hand towel—my favorite—in his little hands.
I couldn’t help laughing as I looked around. And that night as I snuggled on the couch with my boys and we watched the opening scenes of E.T. together, a favorite movie from my own childhood, I thought how lucky I am to have them.
When Mateo climbed out of bed long after he should have already been asleep because he was scared and wanted a hug, I thought how wonderful it is to be needed and loved and entertained by these little boys every day of the year.
This is motherhood. And though it can be exhausting and frustrating, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.