Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Art of Motherhood

There is nothing quite as wonderful as the grammatically incorrect, typo-filled, sloppy, eraser-marked, strange and unedited professions of love that a mom receives on Mother's Day. Yes, breakfast in bed (my first!) was fantastic. Coffee in my Jane Austen mug; mango smoothie and ham, egg and cheese sandwich on an english muffin were just what I would have asked for, had I been given a menu. First dibs on the Sunday comics? Unheard of every other Sunday of the year. But oh, the art, the heart that went into those handmade cards!

"Dear Mom
you ar speshul to me becoas you fid (feed) me and you take care of me. your Love Ben"

He is my love. I call him my lovey all the time. This wonderful note surrounded by pink smiley faces (38, to be exact) clearly took more time to make than he spends in the bathtub.

A laminated bookmark has a poem written about me.

My Mom
by Ben

A lover
A hugger
A kisser
A golfer
A water drinker
An eater
A coffee drinker
A great mom
An awesome mom

When I think of our bad days together, I am very lucky to see what Ben chose to write when creating his list. It could have been rather damning. Let's face it: motherhood is often artless, graceless and ugly. It's messy, embarrassing and brings out our worst just as easily as (if not more often than) our best.

The beauty of these little creatures who make it all possible--the ones who drive us to the brink, who made us mothers in the first place, changing us irrevocably into something we cannot ever remember NOT being--is that they see only the good stuff. They latch onto it, store it away to pull out in those low moments.

When it's time to make lists and cards for mom, they don't think about her full glass of wine, her mumbling under her breath as she picks up everyone's stuff around the house, her revoking the Nintendo DS, her yelling until she's hoarse. Instead, they remember the goofy, gross songs she made up for them about ear wax and boogers; her teaching them how to make armpit farts; the picnics in the yard and trips to the donut and ice cream shops 'just because.'

They remember what makes them feel good, the things they love about me, just as I do with them: their angelic faces when they're sleeping, their silly giggles, funny jokes and heartwarming hugs.

There's a saying that when you're a parent, the days are long but the years are short. Perhaps that's how it is for kids too. When they are suddenly all grown up and on their own, we remember all the good things and conveniently forget the bad. Perhaps they will continue to do the same, just as they do now.

At least until they decide to write a memoir.

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