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Mother’s Day Gifts


My youngest son, Miles, gave me a head cold for Mother’s Day. I felt it coming on last night as we sat together in the park near our home and watched a lighted parade of bicycles dressed as bison. My husband has a small non-profit street opera company called Opera-matic, here in Chicago and this odd, but beautiful parade was a part of a gathering they organized with the people in the neighborhood.

This morning as I rolled out of bed, my head pounding and my nostrils stuffy, I felt happy, nonetheless. I’m not known for a Pollyanna attitude toward mothering. There are no days when I do not have to consciously throw out a desperate prayer plea to the Theotokos that I figure out how to avoid screwing up this parenting job. Even now, years into our journey in Orthodoxy, during the Diving Liturgy, I always sit where I see her so that when things go sideways (as they always do) I can just give her that look, that “You’re going to need to intervene here,” look. It’s also true that historically, been a little grumpy about Mother’s Day. I could not get the hang of it. I had hopes; I had expectations. I had to get a nap, a rest from the constant navigation and mediation required of me. Those hopes and expectations were usually dashed against the rocks of parenting small children.

But today, even in the midst of the recently gifted head cold, and the historical grumpiness from the past, less than stellar Mother’s Days, I felt remarkably peaceful. Perhaps I’ve turned a corner. I may be maturing, who knows?

It helps that I had in mind already what I hoped for today. I’d like the boys to clean up the back yard. I’d like to lay around surfing the internet, looking for a dog for us to adopt. I’d like to have ice cream at some point. That’s about it. I’m grateful for this day, the sun outside, the potential for pine needles swept from the red brick pavers, no matter how well the job is performed. I suppose I recognize today, for whatever reason, how temporary and transient these days are; how quickly things change, how soon the day will come when these guys are grown with lives of their own. And at the same time, I have an astounding sense that I’m seeing an eternity in this one moment. It’s here, even in the swollen sinuses and arguments between children already brewing downstairs, it’s here.

I can’t guarantee that later today I won’t be a hideous, snotty mess, or that my attitude will be stellar, but for this moment, I’m grateful. And this moment is important and worthwhile; I can see an eternity in it and so I’ll sit in that for a little while. That’s the best gift.

#gifts #gratitude #mothersday #prayer