Sunday, May 11, 2014

cinnamon gum moments

It's mother's day, and I often find myself writing posts on this day.

so much emotion.

Today my people served me well.  well, first of all, yesterday, before Steve left for a long day of teaching improv, he got up early to clean the house for me!  woot, woot!

and also yesterday, while I sewed my brains out in the basement, the little people fulfilled their big plans for me.  cake baking, craft making, card writing, mess making. :)  it was so sweet to see them at this stage of life where they did it all without prompting, and really just wanted to bless me on Mother's Day.  They're so sweet!!!

This morning I woke up to pancakes and cereal that spelled out "mom" and gift bags galore on the table.

seriously, how sweet is that. :)  and in those bags were the crafts and cards and school crafts, etc.  Lillian baked me a cake, Josiah made me a craft he found on pinterest (seriously, love that kid.) and a paper jewelry tower thing he thought up himself.  Brielle wrote me a card, with her sweet sounding out stage she's in.  and cut out shapes of paper just for me. :) melt my heart.  You can "cis Mome" anytime you want babe. 

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the gift from Steve, which the kids were VERY excited about because he couldn't wrap it, was a super long kiss, complete with moans and groans and eye covering from the kids.  nothin' better. :)  

my people know how to bless me.  forget the flowers and diamonds.  this was my kind of day.  

But then there's always the "motherless daughter" in me who doesn't quite know how to celebrate this day that I should be celebrating her.  I read this blog post the other day. (  and by read, I guess I mean skimmed, because I couldn't quite let myself fully feel quite yet, while the kids were still awake and such.  But I passed it on to my sisters, because we're in this boat together, mothering without our mother in our lives.  it's a tough place to be.  I fully intend on reading and weeping through that post again, probably on Tuesday morning, when I'm here by myself.  that tends to be a good time for me to feel things...

But a few weeks ago I had this "moment" I guess of such a strong surge of memories of my mom.  It was totally out of the blue.  I was at a church meeting, in the home of one of my friends, and after we finished up a few of us were just sitting and chatting about nothing and everything.  My friend Rachel got out a pack of gum and I spotted it and quickly asked for a piece before she stuck it back in her purse.  For some reason, she apologized that it was cinnamon gum, which was weird to me  bc I grew up on Trident sugar-free cinnamon gum.  I quickly smiled and said, "oh! that's going to remind me of my mom!" and the second I stuck that piece of gum in my mouth, I BURST into tears.  It was the type of moment that almost never happens for me, especially in a group of people.  And there I was apologizing to my friends but completely unable to get rid of the rush of memories that sparked from the smell/taste of my mom's gum of choice.  

It wasn't really even any particular memories.  It was just like, the ESSENCE of my mom felt so close.  and I just sat there bawling like a baby, remembering my mom.  Sometimes she feels SO far away.  Like it's been so long and I"m starting to forget things, like EXACTLY what her voice sounded like, or EXACTLY what her cute feet looked like, or if her jaw popped all the time or just sometimes when she chewed, things that probably seem weird to you but I want to remember so clearly and sometimes can't.  

But the feeling the cinnamon gum gave me made me realize more about what being a mom is all about.  I just FELT her in that moment.  I didn't remember any special trips we went on, or any special presents I'd been given by her, or any momentous occasions.  I just felt my mom.  her love, her warmth, her smile.  And these are the things that made her HER.  

So when I was sitting here today with my kids, working extra hard on my patience or whatever other fruits of the spirit needed tuning up in the moment, because it's Mother's Day and you're not supposed to get frustrated with your kids on the day you celebrate being their mother... Today I was realizing that it's not about the special days. (although, for this family, it was the perfect type of "special day" for me, nothing fancy, just little acts of love.)   But in general, it's not about what you give them or where you take them or any of those things that seem so important to most parents these days.  and it's also not about the million ways I feel like I've failed them as a mother.  

it's about being there.

it's about your everyday attitude.

it's about listening and making them feel loved.

It's about giving them something to FEEL when they chew your gum after you're gone.