The morning of Mother’s Day, Mary Bullock bit her finger at breakfast biting into her doughnut. Her face crumpled in surprise and pain, and she climbed into my lap, her feet already hanging most of the way to the floor only four short years after I held her in my arms the day of her birth.
I felt terrible that she was hurt but pretty sure she’d survive. So instead of getting her a band-aid, I held her in my arms and squeezed her tight. I kissed her wet cheeks, the freckled ones already losing their baby squishies.
She will be too big for my lap one day but never too big for my arms.
All week last week I thought about my mother. I thought: more than she would like flowers, or cake, or a trip to the spa, she might like to hear just what she has meant to me in the last thirty-four years.
So I thought about it, and thought some more. And I then got distracted by messes, and laundry, and cooking dinner, and watching my babies ride their bikes and trikes in the driveway. But in the middle of all of those distractions, I was still thinking. But nothing that I thought ever made enough sense that I could attempt to convey it in words.
And then today, just a few minutes ago, actually– four minutes from what is sure to be the end of the boys’ nap time, the only time I have in the day to convert the drivel in my head into sentences– I read a piece in the WaPo about motherhood and planned obsolescence and then I knew just what I had meant to say.
Mama, you will never be obsolete.
You taught me how to tie my shoes, and now I can tie my own shoes, yes.
You taught me how to drive, and now I can drive myself, yes.
But anyone could have taught me how to tie my shoes or drive a car.
You are the one covered me with love, acceptance, and encouragement even at my worst.
I will never outgrow the need for that.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is: Happy Mother’s Day! Don’t clock out yet.