“All I really want are children who are respectful, who listen, obey, clean up once in a while and appreciate what I do around here!”
This was often uttered in our household growing up, every time birthdays, Christmases, and Mother’s Days rolled around.
“Mo-om!” we’d roll our eyes. Seriously, she expected us to improve on perfection? Sure, maybe Amy could be a little more well-behaved, but sometimes you just have to work with what you’ve got. “No really, what do you want for Mother’s Day?!” I couldn’t imagine that cleaning my room could be better than breakfast in bed made by an eleven and an eight year old.
Now I am the mother with the child. I have a child whose vocabulary is limited to “da” and “uh” and whose idea of helping is taking clean plates from the dishwasher and dropping them on the floor. So, this Mother’s Day, I wasn’t expecting respect or obedience or cleanliness or a Thank You.
One evening recently, I came home to a cranky, hungry little boy. Dinner was on the stove, but Cameron was just so certain that we didn’t understand his need to eat right this minute! He spent his time standing in the kitchen, pointing up to the counter. His wines turned into cries as he tried to make us understand just how hungry he was. My reassurances that dinner was being made did not register with this poor starving toddler.
Finally, I decided that giving my son a pre-dinner snack would reassure him that he is listened to and that we respect his needs. I reached into the box for a small cookie, crouched down to Cameron’s level, and gave it to him.
Cameron took the cookie, but he didn’t put it in his mouth right away. As he held the cookie in his hand, he reached his little arms around my neck and gave me the biggest squeeze his little frame could muster.
Cameron doesn’t have the words to say Thank You just yet. And when he does, he probably won’t realize that he should be thanking me for every dinner made and every scrape nursed and ever discipline doled.
But there are those moments, those sweet little slices of time, that make my heart flutter and my breath catch. Moments just like that hug after granting a cookie. Moments when thanks is spoken in love.
Grateful moments that aren’t set aside only for Mother’s Day.
I hope that, even despite the very rare moments of disrespect, selective hearing, disobeying. messiness, and ungratefulness, I hope I gave my Mom a few moments where she really and truly felt appreciated. – Because she was. And is. Still.