When I padded from my room at a time most would call the middle of the night towards the coffee, bleary eyed, I remembered it was mother’s day and instantly there was a little more spring in my movement. Jordan had set out near my coffee long stem white roses with a yellow ribbon tied around one of my portmeirion water pitchers. There was a card representing his humor and our relationship indicating I should look in the fridge. There he had left me two bars of dark Godiva chocolate. Flowers and Chocolate. Jordan knows that’s what I like. These traditional gifts offered spontaneously from my sixteen year old son made them a hundred times more enjoyable. When I ate some chocolate after my lunch I purposely left it out where he could see that I’d indulged. And he noticed, which made him so happy. (the fact that my favorite is dark chocolate means it won’t disappear mysteriously…I am the only one who likes it dark.)
I took time t0 enjoy the simple pleasure that the gardens are at their peak of beauty around Mother’s day. I spread vases of my gardenias on the kitchen table and the scent filled the room. I took a long bike ride and cleared my head. I had a hearty laugh while on my bike as I approached to pass a big man on a skinny bike. He wore spandex so tight that the stripes I thought were the shorts were actually the stripes on his boxers. Ha! It made my day. That’s how quirky I am. My husband is a biker and he shudders at the thought of wearing spandex, and he’s in good shape. We always laugh about the guys geared up like Lance Armstong who can’t see their shoes over their bellies. When we got our bikes the first thing Craig said, is “don’t dress me like that!” I actually tried, but the spandex sits at the bottom of his drawer untouched.
The gift I ask for every year from my boys: a letter. They try to squelch through without digging into their feelings so I put a length requirement on my letter. Kevin wrote his and half of it teased me about my requirements. So be it. I love to save the words from my kids. Jack spent a week at school writing me poetry and forming a special book. He was doing flips to get me to finally open the gift. I always read my mother’s day letters aloud at the kitchen table after we’ve eaten. This practice instigates the humor and competitive nature everyone in this clan is keen to partake. I am never disappointed.
It was a little bit stinky that Donny’s seat was empty at the dinner table on Mother’s Day. He has his last final today and will be home for the summer on Wednesday. This happy anticipation cancels my disappointment with his absence at our table. He and I chased each other all day with our phones. Finally when he was finished at the library and I was not on my bike he called and we chatted happily about everything as usual for 46 minutes and six seconds. He wasn’t really finished talking but all of my boys had prepared dinner and it was time for me to go. It was my first call on Mother’s Day from a son who had been using his own wings. Craig listened to me laughing and talking and was deeply thoughtful about being a son who calls his mom and listening to his own son who called his mom. He was happy for me to receive that sort of devotion and attention from our oldest, without being prompted.
Craig got the job done on Mother’s Day. Though he likes to tease me that I’m not his mother, he still did all the laundry, shopped for dinner, and prepared all of the meal. It was my favorite! Grilled vegetables, brown rice and grilled chicken. Mmm…
While he cooked I played in the pool with Kira and Jack. The day felt like a summer warning of what is to shortly come, sticky heat. The pleasure of Kira’s growing attachment to me was the best gift on this mother’s day. When I come into the room she says with a bright face and big smile, “mama”. Oh have I labored and suffered to come to this place with her. And each day her hugs are more frequent and her kisses are more spontaneous. I am so relieved she likes me. Someday I will tease her for how hard to get she played with me.
What I celebrated in my heart this mother’s day is the fact that I don’t just have five children embracing me, I have 47 more in Uganda that call me mama and I love them too. Bringing this group of children under my wing these past four months has given my life more purpose and richer meaning. The work we do to improve their lives and insure their futures is driven by the love God first gives me. I am a simple vessel he pours into and it flows over the children there. I am just so honored He chose me as His vessel to shower those beautiful children in Uganda. In just one month I will be there hugging their necks. That will be a mother’s day fulfilled.