on mother’s day

“Motherhood is near to divinity. It is the highest, holiest service to be assumed by mankind. It places her who honors its holy calling and service next to the angels.”

Isn’t that lovely.  Now let’s talk about my week.

Last Sunday evening, as we enjoyed the great food and great company of a Brazilian friend and his family, whose wife I had met exactly once before, Mary vomited violently all over me and all over the kitchen of said family.  I arrived home in borrowed clothing, still stinking of vomit, and proceeded to spend the next 48 hours on the couch, with the poor child heaving every two or three hours.  Day three the puking seemed to slow down (although there was an unfortunate incident in her bedroom which required the use of our steam cleaner), so of course the diarrhea began.  Lovely.  Oh, and I was sick that day too, but only for a few hours — even after breastfeeding for more than a year, the 33-year-old immune system trumps a two-year-old one.

When a young child is sick, I can think of no better purpose for her mother than to sit and hold her until she feels better.  Plus I watched movies, so it wasn’t all bad.  The aftermath is not too pretty, though.  Not only is my house a disaster (Some of you who only have a child or two probably can’t quite imagine the mess a family of six can make in a three day period.  Plus the vomit-y bedding, clothing, etc.) but Mary is a disaster too.  Matt thinks she has PTSD from all of that wretching — has to be frightening to a little one, no? 

Which brings me to this morning, lovely honored Mother’s Day.  Matt had a 6:30 church meeting, so I was awakened just before seven by Mary screaming at the top of her lungs for peanuts.  She’s had a whole series of food dreams this week (all of that vomiting makes you hungry?) where she wakes up screaming furiously — one morning for a sandwich, which she accused Ben of stealing, another for a donut, and another for a cookie.  But this morning it was peanuts, and she would not be consoled, even after I was sure she was fully awake.  And alas, there were no peanuts in my cupboard.  Matt was home soon after this, but even with his help, the church preparations were a little hairy, and by our appointed 8:45 departure time, three of the four children were crying.

Church on Mother’s Day is always inspiring.  You can count on hearing the Abe Lincoln quote about his “angel” mother.  I on the other hand, felt like no angel as I observed one child who is old enough to know better letting snot drip from his nose and another child picking his nose until it bled.  Inspiring, isn’t it?  Of course there were the typical squabbles over fruit snacks and crayons.  We finally got everyone off to class at the end of the meeting, and I could relax and go to my own classes. 

Matt is juggling child care and dinner preparations this afternoon, trying to give me a break and I’m trying not to be too cynical.  I know several mothers who detest Mother’s Day.  It just seems like a sham — someone makes you french toast and buys you some flowers, there’s a homemade card or a corsage, but still the children are whining, complaining, and arguing.  You can take a little break, but it’ll probably just mean more work for tomorrow.  It’s really just like every other day.

One of our speakers today told about Anna Jarvis, who was the mother of Mother’s Day, so to speak.  She realized after only a few years that she had created a monster, and began to fight the over-commercialization of the holiday.  She never had children, but her experience was a lot like motherhood — a lot more work than you’re expecting, and it doesn’t always turn out as you had pictured it.

p.s. I realize this post is kind of negative for such a special day.  I love you mom.  And Vicki.  And I love being a mother.  Really.

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13 thoughts on “on mother’s day

  1. Katy

    Elizabeth
    I was feeling pretty cynical myself this morning. I realized that even though it was supposed to be my day, I had to console Kirsten, who was sobbing because the morning hadn’t gone the way she wanted. Kris was supposed to wake Kirsten up (which I found out later that he apparently did wake her up, she fell back asleep), so she could make me breakfast in bed. I was already feeling like a terrible mother because I found that both Ava & Mia have a cavity (how could that happen & I not notice). I found them, they are visible. I’m trying to figure out where to take them, I’m not really happy with our current dentist. So, all these minor things are making me feel like a terrible mother, but I have to put things in perspective and realize that I have much to be thankful for and even though it was Mother’s Day I still needed to be unselfish and suck it up and make this a special day for my children. Hope you are all feeling better and things will be much more boring in your house.
    Katy
    p.s. We have a huge can of peanuts at our house all the time, they are one of Mia’s favorite snacks.

    Reply
  2. rhall

    Sorry that I found this quite hilarious. I was never very fond of Mother’s Day, although it’s not so bad now. I certainly remember Mother’s Day 1975, three weeks overdue with you. And you were thankfully born the next day. Happy birthday. I think you are wonderful, and certainly witty! And you are a lovely woman and mother. Your husband and children are blessed to have you, and you them. Stock up on peanuts. Should 2 yr olds eat peanuts?

    Reply
  3. kira

    Ha! This year’s mother’s day wasn’t too bad – why? We celebrated it 2 weeks ago as a surprise. No pressure or expectations. It was awesome. So yesterday I got a candy bar and an expectation free mother’s day – it felt great!!

    Reply
  4. Montezuma's Revenge

    I seriously only made it through the first 2 paragraphs before vomitting though my mouth and nose all over myself. Thanks Liz.

    Reply
  5. lovelydainty

    I feel your pain times three! Sunday morning began with some very dirty sheets from one boy and the whole day pretty much continued in the same vein. The other two boys decided to start puking the night away right after bed. At least it was all over before midnight! I figure it serves me right for asking for breakfast in bed! Happy birthday! I hope that today is going better than yesterday.

    Reply
  6. robinbl

    It’s all a matter of expectations, right? I set pretty low expectations for Mother’s Day, and then if life continues happening despite somebody’s decisions to call it Mother’s Day, then I’m not disappointed. If by chance, someone does do something extra special, then it makes the surprise all that much more pleasant. Cynical, who me?

    Reply
  7. Jen H.

    i wish i had known that mary needed peanuts – we have a whole bag of them that we had just gotten from a restaurant that we visited the night before – but we probably won’t eat them. want ’em for the next mary nightmare? ;) love your blog, Liz!

    Reply
  8. Glenda

    I came across your blog via quince jelly. I live in Utah, too, so your comment on the Cottage Smallholder caught my eye. I’m not a blog reader/writer, but read your Mother’s Day post. The part about Abraham Lincoln’s mother – I knew you were a woman in touch with reality – made me read all the way back to the quince jelly post. I was uplifted by so many of your comments, particularly those about Sheri Dew and Julie Beck. It’s a good feeling to know that there are women who feel the same way I do. It was even my birthday last week, too! Keep it up – you are wonderful! :)

    Reply
  9. One Up'd

    Liz I love your blog so much that I read all the way back to the first pixel of the first letter of your first post.

    Reply
  10. Kate

    Liz,
    The push mower is awesome. My main concern was that it wouldn’t work very well, but it works great! We have a weed wacker thing that we do our edges with… but then you just push mow to your hearts content. You do have to keep up on it though. Because mowing shorter grass is much easier then having to push that thing through really long grass, although it can be done. It was cheap. (one of our main reasons of going the push mower route) at $130 the price just can’t be beat. And no cost of gas. It’s quiet, earth friendly, a GOOD workout, fun to watch. (Charlie and I get a kick out of watching Mark with it.) Ours is the Task Master from Lowe’s. We really love ours. Mark finds it best to do it one direction set at the highest level, then he goes back over cross wise on the next level down to get the best coverage. Our grass already looks much better. (I’m not sure that’s due to the push mower or just mowing it in general!) I’d recommend it. Get one that has a grass catcher. Although it doesn’t catch all the grass, it does a pretty good job.

    Reply
  11. Kate

    Oh and if you keep up on your mowing, it actually doesn’t take as much time as we thought it would. You can zip behind that thing if you don’t hit a twig!

    Reply

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