It's Mother's Day

Mother’s Day – an opportunity for all of us to reflect on how terrific our kids are, no matter how challenging, and remember that we wouldn't trade them for the world.  Or a million dollars.  But maybe we would loan them out for a day or so… you know, because we’d really like some time to ourselves. 

This morning I started the day just as I do every other Mother’s Day:  Nick at the ready to make my traditional breakfast which consists of toast (this year he remembered the butter!), a chocolate chip cookie, and a Diet Pepsi.  Served on a tray.  Along with a chocolate croissant he got my mom to buy at the French bakery for me (he’s learning!).  It could not be sweeter – since he has been making this since he was literally three years old, and not only on Mother’s Day but any day he is feeling especially thoughtful. 

But today I also have the reality of having challenging kids.  Gabriel is in a Manic state.  This pretty much means he doesn’t sleep enough, is irritable, obsessed with food and requires a great deal more attention than usual.  Which often takes the form of non-stop talking.  For hours at a time.  No exaggeration.

And although Matt and Nick aren’t able to hold a candle to the kind of challenging Gabe is this time of year, they are still holding their own. 

Since it is Mother’s Day, I kinda wanted a day off.  Like a free pass.  I even hoped that maybe they would be so excited about Mother’s Day they wouldn’t have any issues whatsoever.  Ya, that didn’t happen.

Turns out even on Mother’s Day I’m the mom.

The broach Nick made
After making an impromptu written/visual schedule complete with poorly drawn pencil images for Gabriel, and accepting the fact that I was probably not going to make it to the grocery store, or get the kitchen clean before my mom came over this afternoon for a BBQ, I gave up hope of anything other than enjoying the day – and being a mom – just exactly like every other day.

We sat on the couch, ate croissants, watched Shark Men, and I opened each of the gifts the boys made me at school.

The heart Matthew gave me
First Nick gave me his gift  – a beautiful broach that he not only made but pinned on my shirt himself.  I thought about how much work and attention Nick put into it, with the details and the hot-gluing.  And with how hard it is for him to stay focused these days, I felt honored that he took the time to make it for me. 

Then Matt gave me his gift – a hand painted heart that hangs from a ribbon wrapped in a bag he painted all by himself.  It even had a paper and pipe cleaner flower attached for decoration that he wanted me to wear in my hair.  I thought about how hard small motor skills are for him, painting and writing, and how he is rarely interested in any art project, but when I looked at the bag (which his teacher proudly shared that the instructions were to ‘paint the entire bag’ which Matt of course took literally) and how every single square inch had been painted perfectly.  Even the ceramic heart was painted with the same kind of attention and care, and I felt honored that Matthew created those things for me.

Gabriel's letter to me
Then Gabe gave me his gift – a card with colored pictures of a hamster (inspired by his stuffed Hamster Fluffy who goes everywhere with him), and a handwritten letter that filled my heart with joy – not just because he must have spent a great deal of time getting every single letter on the paper written legibly, but that he actually thanked me for writing a book about him so that people understand him.  It brought tears to my eyes.  After I unwrapped the small tissue paper package that came with it, I also found a handmade beaded key chain that says ‘mom’.  My sweet boy.

Their thoughtful gifts - that they took great care in creating, and pride in giving me - made my Mother's Day.  It reminds me that I'm a lucky girl to have such beautiful boys.

It’s been a tough spring, for all four of us though.  And yet just when I thought I’d like to throw the towel in for the day – have an easy-free-pass-kinda Mother’s Day – I realized I wouldn’t want my Mother's Day any other way.

I truly wouldn’t trade those boys for anything in this world.  Apparently not even a day off.

Happy Mother’s Day to the most amazing women I know!


Barbara said...

Happy Mother's Day. I found your blog for the first time. I'm feeling lonely today, taking a break from my son--who is without any labels or diagnosis, but is very, very challenging--and found some solace and comfort in your words. Thanks.

Linda said...

Hartley, I love your posts. Thank you so much for sharing your stories. I am mom to an awesome nine year old twice exceptional (austism/gifted), sensory seeking boy. He is the sunshine in my world, but boy can he wear me out. Please keep up the posts - you are amazing and inspiring!