This past Friday, Sawyer's kindergarten class put on a fashion show for the moms, then invited us back to the classroom for a snack. Sawyer was SO proud to hand me a plate of cookies and a cup of lemonade. He also presented me with a few things: a paper bag that contained a breakfast bar and a tea bag, and on which he drew a picture of me..
a handmade card, and a booklet entitled "All About Moms" in which each child answered five questions. I'm going to share the questions and Sawyer's response, and then I'll put my answer.
Q: How can you tell someone is a mom?
Sawyer: She has long hair and she's a girl.
Me: She has spit up on her shoulder or a chocolate handprint on the back of her pants that she has no idea is there. Well, she has SOME idea it's there, because she had a toddler clinging to her leg for an hour or so and there's bound to be some residue. She probably has bags under her eyes from sleepless nights, either from insane o'clock feedings, countless trips leading a child back to bed, or simply from worry worry worry. She actually does have a third eye, right in the back of her head, which is how she always catches a small hand sneaking an extra cookie. She is also blessed with the unique ability to wear her heart on the outside, where it skips and plays and sometimes falls. And she will always light up when her child walks into the room.
Q: How did your mom learn to be a mom?
Sawyer: From my grandma that's alive.
Me: I was absolutely influenced by my own mother, that's true (and for the record, BOTH grandmas are alive). We are ALL shaped by our mothers, one way or the other. Mostly? It's on-the-job training. We learn what works - and what doesn't. It's an ongoing process, and just when we think we've got it figured out, we realize we don't have the slightest clue what we're doing. We understand that giving birth was actually the easy part.
Q: What does your mom do while you are at school?
Sawyer: She usually makes lunch and plays.
Me: These days, when Sage is also at school, I have lots of one-on-one time with X, who no longer takes a morning nap. We go to the park. We go to Target. We play in the sandbox in the backyard. We snack. We try to check email. We're not down with that (well, ONE of us isn't). We get up and play with the Little People tractor. We try to check Twitter. "We" hear someone whining, trying to get our attention. We read books. We drink water. We share our water. We realize three hours have gone by and now we're racing down the street to get big brother, leaving piles of unsorted laundry and untouched dirty breakfast dishes behind.
Q: Why did your mom want children?
Sawyer: I don't know, she never told me why.
Me: Why, indeed? It's a question I've asked myself, after the end of some particularly awful day full of barf, poop, snot, whine or other unpleasantness that makes me long for those days Before Children. But really, I always knew I wanted kids. I can't figure out how you can go through life without wanting to become a parent. What else is there to do that's more important? What is more rewarding, more life-altering, more amazing? To me, it's such an honor to have these little beings calling me "Mommy." Sometimes the love I feel for them is so overwhelming it's tough to breathe. Of course, sometimes it's the anger that knocks the wind out of me. But then one of them hugs me, or brings me a flower they carefully picked from the yard, or squeals with delight upon seeing me, or is wonderfully sweet to a sibling, and I think, heck ya, there IS nothing else.
Q: What makes your mom so special?
Sawyer: She does art in the garage with me.
Me: That one's easy. What makes ME so special are my kids. I am forever changed by them. They make me deliriously happy, and so furious I want to rip their cute little heads off. They bring out the absolute best and worst in me. They make me want to be better: kinder, more patient, more in-the-moment. They make me see my failure - on a daily, if not hourly basis - and they love me anyway. Every day is a new chance for me to be the mother I so want to be. Maybe they wouldn't have picked me if they had some other options, but they're stuck with me, and I will try to deserve them. Every day.
Happy Mother's Day. And thank you, thank you, thank you.