on the day after mother’s day

We’ve always laughed, John and I, and said it’s a cruel joke, this thing of Mother’s Day being on Sunday.

Mothers across the nation wake extra early, readying small ones for church, preparing for a long day of Sunday School and services, lunch with napless toddlers in packed-to-the-windows Italian restaurants, the typical Sunday evening preparations for another week. The mothers wear smiles and corsages, bracelets made with macaroni by tiny hands. Each mama welcomes the love and the honor and the accolades, but all she really wants is an infusion of sleep without wasting the time it takes to actually, you know, sleep.

Our Sunday was beautiful in all of my favorite quiet ways, filled with the running, giggling, and singing of little boys, sushi, and time to knit. I was showered with kisses and construction paper cards, poems and a hot pad with a painted hand print flower. John wrapped his arms around my waist, whispered of how he adores the three small humans we parent together, how he loves the way I mother them. We ignored the chaos, John cleaned the kitchen and I’ll spare you the story of the incident involving a small person and a full bladder. Mother’s Day was sweet and simple and good.

On The Day After Mother's Day

But today is Monday and Shelton coughed himself awake all night long. The morning began in earnest at 5:30am and there have been lunches to pack, a tired preschooler with a runny nose, a leaky diaper, a full dishwasher and a sink somehow already stacked with plates and bowls. I discovered too late we’re devoid of an essential food item, which means I’ll actually need to get dressed before school starts this morning and run to the grocery. My calendar tells me I have doctor’s appointments to schedule, phone calls to return (I’m the worst about that) and hours of work to squeeze into naptime. The basement is nearly unwalkable, the result of three neighbor boys over on Saturday to play Legos and Angry Birds. I’m afraid to use the toilet in the downstairs bathroom.

For an hour yesterday afternoon, I clicked my way through a few of the pieces shared in our simple stories linkup on Friday. I read Amy’s heartfelt letter to her teenage children and sweet Laurie’s tale of a day in early motherhood and both tangled up somewhere inside of me this Monday morning, because this is it, isn’t it?

Today is the real mother’s day, the day after our holiday, when the flowers are on the mantle but someone needs to water them, when the cards tumble like dominoes and the kisses are out the door on the way to school. Today there will be whining and the tiny humans will create gigantic messes and the notes we receive will come from the teacher’s desk. We’ll have heavy conversations with our older ones while wiping the faces of the small folk. We’ll oversee homework and fold five loads of laundry and we’ll grab take out for dinner. We’ll go for a walk, run 25 errands, read books, and do the bedtime routine. We’ll whisper to ourselves throughout the day, thoughts of life and wonder and philosophy and justice and truth. Then we’ll fall into bed, too late, without making time to write them down.

This is the day we are more than the cards, more than the accolades. We prove, here, our own faithfulness in doing the hard work of the daily loving and living, of partnering with any partners we have, of holding up our good habits and asking for help, of keeping our heads down through the rough patches and finding beauty in those gentle moments when it all comes together.

This is the day we become more of what we already are, the ones who do the sacred work of mothering and nurturing and loving deeply while hiding the dark circles under our eyes.

Happy Mother’s Day, mamas. You’re celebrated on Monday, too.

13 Responses to on the day after mother’s day

  1. Nicole May 15, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Ha! I was thinking some of the same things on Sunday. Woke up to a sick boy, went to church by myself, did food shopping. Snuggled with sick boy. Yep, a pretty average “mother’s” day! :) But it was quiet and restful, too, and just what I needed. No flowers or eating out required.

  2. Becca May 14, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    FOR SURE not on Sunday would be better. Really any other day :-) Anyways, love your posts!!!

  3. Mama Bear May 14, 2013 at 9:59 am #

    This was perfect, right on. xo

  4. Hillary May 14, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Summed it up perfectly! Thank you!

  5. Esther May 14, 2013 at 9:01 am #

    Beautiful! I almost cried when you mentioned Lego’s and Angry Birds :-)

  6. Wendi May 13, 2013 at 9:57 pm #

    Well said!!! Aidan is still talking about his adventures on Saturday night!!!

  7. Pam May 13, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    So good. You sound so much like the thoughts running around in my own head.

  8. Kelly @ Love Well May 13, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    Exactly. I posted something similar today. Mother’s Day is just a day. But being a mama – that’s worth my lifetime.

  9. Chris May 13, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

    I adore your writing, the word pictures you take, the love you show.

    That is all, but it is enough.

  10. Laurie May 13, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    Oh how I need this after the little one woke up at three a.m to let me know there was a first tooth on the way. Lol loved this post.

  11. Linds May 13, 2013 at 11:02 am #

    Yes. I see the picture in my mind so clearly but for me, it is part of the tapestry in time that I have been stitching. My little ones grew up, you see, and all I have here in this strangely silent house, are the ornaments,the boxes full of those cards and the photos. And I smile. A memory keeper. That is what I am. And it is good.

  12. Clara May 13, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    I could have written your first paragraph! All day, I kept thinking that whoever decided Mother’s Day was on Sunday had no children to get ready for church. :P


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