When we were pregnant for the first time and found out that the baby would be a boy, I'll confess, I was a little disappointed. I had always pictured a girl first--one who would be sweet and thoughtful and nurturing (and probably a little bossy, too). But a boy. I just couldn't imagine a boy being any of those things.
I, of course, have changed my perspective in the intervening years. Boys are not the same as girls to be sure, but I've seen their kind, compassionate sides, and I love them for it. But even with this love and adoration for my boys, I had no idea that they were capable of orchestrating the best mother's day I've ever had.
It started weeks ago when Max put a box in his closet and began filling it with little presents he made in his spare time. I was under strict orders not to look in the box when I came in to get the laundry.
Around that same time, Bradley started crossing off the days on the calendar, giving me the most current countdown: "Only twelve more days until Mother's Day!" As the day approached, he grew increasingly excited, "Don't forget what's going to happen on Sunday, Mom."
I have to admit, I kind of wondered if they were confused about the purpose of Mother's Day. They did realize, right, that it wasn't a day for kids but for moms?
On Saturday night, Max set his alarm for midnight. His plan was to get up and clean the whole house so that it would be all ready for me when I woke up. Mike and I were the only ones who ended up hearing his alarm when it started beeping incessantly in the dead of night, but when he woke up at a normal time the next morning, he didn't let the lost hours stop him from getting right to work straightening up Clark's bedroom and the living room.
They let me sleep in and then showered me with gifts the moment I woke up: cards and bookmarks and pictures and crafts. There were so many little items in Max's box that we had to take a break so we could eat breakfast.
Here's some of what I found:
- a board game called "Get the Kisses"
- many origami hearts
- a little paper bag filled with six paper books
- hand-stamped notes
- a little scotch-taped paper container to keep my earrings in
- paper clip chains that spelled out the word "red" (my favorite color)
- coupons for basement and room cleaning
- homemade cards with fancy pop-ups
Sometimes I get a little stressed when my kids make me things because, as someone who doesn't love clutter, I just don't know how to handle all of it. But yesterday, I just basked in it. I thought of all of the hours and hours of work that went into it and realized, My kids are celebrating me because they want to. I am not just some afterthought. They didn't realize the morning of, "Oh I guess I better make Mom a card" and slap something together. They've been prepping for this day for weeks because they wanted to make me feel special.
Even Mike was surprised. There have been years when he has put forth a lot of time and effort to involve the boys in planning something sweet, but the week got away from him (and Mother's Day fell early this year). He still got me a gift (a kindle, which deserves its own post since it's taken me a long time to decide my life could benefit from having an e-reader in it), but he didn't take the boys out shopping or help them make anything for me. But his worry was unneeded. His boys paid attention to the date themselves and got ready for it on their own.
We spent the morning at church where the Primary children sang a couple of songs in sacrament meeting and filled out those fun questionnaires (for the question, "My mother loves to . . ." Max wrote, "read, take a nap, read to herself"). Bradley wore the sweater he doesn't like because he knows I like it. Clark handed me a paper flower with his picture in the middle and said, "Here, Mommy." In the afternoon, I read aloud to them (we just started Voyage of the Dawn Treader), and then I took a nap (so it appears Max knows me pretty well). No one fought or argued (or at least, not much).
In the evening, my brother and his family came over, and Mike made the most amazing salmon and shrimp (and he doesn't even like shrimp).
And through it all, I just kept telling myself, Pay attention. Remember that. You will never get another Mother's Day like this one.
Maybe that's kind of cynical of me to say. But I realize I'm in the golden period of motherhood right now. My kids are old enough to carry on an interesting conversation and help out around the house but not so old that their parents don't know anything anymore. I would love it if they always looked forward to Mother's Day this much, but there will probably come a time when it will feel less like a privilege and more like an obligation. Life gets busy, and holidays become a burden because they come around so quickly, and a homemade card no longer seems to cut it.
I know a lot of moms who don't like Mother's Day because it brings up a lot of guilt. I certainly feel some of that, especially when my kids are so sweet to me and I remember all of the times I've been a real monster to them (although it definitely goes both ways, if you know what I mean). But mostly I just feel gratitude on Mother's Day: for my own mother, of course, but also for the opportunity to be a mother.
I don't know what my kids will be like in twenty years. I don't know if they'll be the types of sons who will call me on the phone or give me hugs or think to pamper me on special days. I like to think that they'll be like that, but I don't know.
What I do know is that right now, in 2016, these boys of mine are the sweetest, most thoughtful, most affectionate little boys I know. And oh, I'm going to treasure it.