I don’t remember how old Aaron was when he first made me breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day. I do remember what he served me. Soggy cereal, toast with quite a bit of jelly, a still-frozen-waffle with peanut butter, and a glass of milk. There was a silk rose as well…all on a cookie sheet, carried carefully and quite wobbly to my bedside. Pretending I hadn’t heard commotion in the kitchen, I stretched and sat up. However, I didn’t have to act surprised that my little boy made breakfast…that part was real. I don’t know where he got the idea of breakfast in bed; it was certainly not anything he had witnessed at home. It was something he did on his own, because he wanted to celebrate me and start my day in a special way.
Mother’s Day always falls on a Sunday, and no matter where we lived or what church we attended, Bill was always playing on the worship team on Sunday mornings. Having him leave early to set up and practice has been a part of our Sundays for over 20 years. Every Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day…really any holiday that fell on a Sunday, was a day that the kids and I handled without him. It was not always easy when the kids were young, but I knew that playing was his heart…his gift, and so we did mornings, and he joined in whatever celebration after church in the afternoons.
After that first boy-made breakfast in bed, it kind of became a tradition. Other boys were born, and were added to the Mother’s Day chef list. Eventually all four kids were up and cooking each year. Let’s just say it made for some very interesting kitchen clean up, and a major rush not only to clean the room, but also the kids in a sometimes not so successful effort to get to church on time. Their little fingers were sticky with syrup, faces covered in flour, but the smiles made up for all the mess. My favorite part was listening to them “whisper” to one another about what each of them would do. The older teaching the younger…working together to make something special for me. There is no way four children under the age of 8 can be quiet when cooking breakfast. No way. From the first bang of a cabinet door, I listened to the process. The meals went from soggy cereal, toast, waffles and bagels, to a full breakfast of pancakes, bacon and eggs. Even now, when I think of those little voices I smile.
Kids grew up, and moved away. The first time there was no breakfast on Mother’s Day I found my heart aching. Life gets busy, and old traditions make way for new ones. I get phone calls now instead of food, and I am ever so grateful for those calls that bring them home to me for just a moment or two. Those closer by stop in for a visit knowing it will make my day to hear what’s going on in their lives. Odd, this change of seasons. I am so proud of my kids and who they are becoming…but I really do miss the little people that filled my days for so long. Would I ever turn back time? I don’t think so. Being mother to four little ones was exhausting. The most rewarding exhaustion I have ever felt. Being mother to four grown ones doesn’t take the same physical toll. (Unless you count getting on my knees in prayer…often.) It is more watching from a distance. I try to somehow find a balance between being available without being overbearing. Much like I imagine walking a tightrope to be. It is emotionally difficult to step back and let them fly on their own. I applaud and admire those moms who have done it well. I am not there yet, but then, just because I am a mom doesn’t mean I have stopped learning. Life is a constant teacher, and I am a student.
Today I remember those little flour covered faces, climbing up in the bed to watch me eat their creations. My heart is overflowing with gratitude to God for my children and for this amazing journey called motherhood. I am one blessed woman.