Another Charlie story - yes, he is the youngest and so he gets the extra love and attention that the others are too cool for now. Last year as we were all piled in the car, the kids were sharing stories about their days at school. One child relayed a story of winning a kickball game at recess, another a story of their poem being read aloud in class and another a story of someone getting in trouble for picking on him. I said in response to the last story, "Oh, I'm sad for you. I'm so sorry that happened." Charlie, who had won at kickball, said, "But Mom, you can be happy because I won today!" My response was a quote I had heard sometime before. "Charlie," I said, "a mother can only be as happy as her saddest child." There was a thoughtful silence in the car for a few minutes as everyone was letting this sink in. Finally Charlie piped up again, "Does that mean that because you're our mom, you're, like, connected to your kids?" Yes, Charlie, that's exactly what that means. If only you knew exactly what that means. Having your heart walk around without you pretty well sums it up... As for the happiness factor, I think the opposite is true as well, A child can only be as happy as his mother.
So today, even though it's Mother's Day, I'm working a little bit harder at keeping my kids happy. Not by skimping on chores, but by simply being happy. We are opening the pool today, which has them over the moon regardless of anything else that happens, but I promise not to complain about how heavy the cover is to lift, or how much gardening there still is to be done out there. I'm not going to focus on the fact that maybe we should move the grill, and power wash the patio. I'm not going to think about the schoolbags that litter the little room we open in the summer for all the pool paraphernalia overspill. I'm definitely not going to bring up the fact that the shed really needs to be cleaned out before we put the pool cover away. I won't even think about work or the fact that I should be doing a million reports today, I'm letting it slide for the sake of my children. Today I can just be happy.
I planted a few flowers and I'm delighted about the perfect shade of blue they bring to the landscape. I'm happy because I woke up to poems and plastic flowers today and I won't think about the fact that these little precious gifts delivered by little pudgy hands with dirty fingernails probably won't be coming my way much longer. The kids are bound to find out about Hallmark one of these days. But for now I'm just going to soak it up. Charlie told me last night that one of his presents for me cost 25 cents and one was free. He wouldn't let me know anymore. Well, the poem was free and yesterday he very stealthily visited a yard sale across the street and spent 25 cents on pink crystalline beaded flowers that he hid in his room. How can something so simple make me so happy?
We find joy if we look for it - we don't even have to look hard. I find happiness in their happiness when I read their poems aloud and my eyes fill up with tears. We are connected and my children's happiness depends on my ability to overlook the busy life that will be there tomorrow. Today, I will enjoy. I'm going to give them this gift and, since we are connected, I think the gift will come back to me.
Happy, Happy Mother's Day!