Mother’s Day is not my favorite for a number of reasons. Sometimes I wish that Mother’s Day meant I could hole up in my bedroom in my PJs, a couple good books, and a continuous stream of Diet Dr. Peppers all day long. Instead, I’ll probably, well, it won’t be like that. ;)
But tonight on this Mother’s Day Eve, I am overwhelmed by both sadness and gratitude for the women in my life who have helped mother my children. Our beloved babysitter of 2.5 years graduated from college today. We knew it would be sad to say goodbye to her, but were a bit surprised by how sad we felt. The kids are wrecked. They kept giving hugs and crying and then going inside for a breather, then coming back out for some more. Once we waved a final goodbye as she pulled out of the driveway, poor Stuart (age 9) ran back into the yard and started audibly weeping—huge gasps and sobs. Marin (age 12) was next. She shooed me away as I tried to coax her over to the porch swing so I could have one arm around each pitiful kid (Kennedy, beyond hope, had already run inside). I tried to tell them that we should try hard to not be sad, but to be grateful to have such great relationships, but they rolled their eyes at me and continued wiping the tears and the snot on their wet swimsuits.
Kennedy went to a party shortly afterwards, which I hoped would be a welcome distraction. When I got home from dropping her off, I found Stuart and Marin in the same position they were in when I left—curled up in their respective corners of the couch, red-faced and puffy-eyed. Stuart lifted up his head and whimpered, “When is she coming back??” A short 30 minutes later, Kennedy texted me and asked me to come back and pick her up because she couldn’t stop crying.
At bedtime tonight, Stuart’s eyes started to look glassy, so I asked him how sad he was on a scale from 0 to 10: 0 being not sad at all and 10 being the saddest ever. He said “6 ½.” I said, “Okay, so what would make you feel a 10?” (thinking he might say he’d be a 10 if I were to die, for example). He said, “Oh, I was a 10 a couple hours ago.” Marin chimed in and said she was an 11. And would remain an 11, like, forever.
Stuart then asked, “So who is gonna pick us up from school on Monday???” I said, “Me! Won’t that be good?” He looked back at me with a blank stare. He didn’t say as much, but the implicit message was: Umm, no, that really won’t be good.
A tiny part of me feels bad, on the eve of Mother’s Day, that my kids think I’m chopped liver. But most of me just feels an abundance of gratitude that she’s been a part of our family’s life for the last 2.5 years. It wasn’t an easy beginning. We had had a good run with another babysitter extraordinaire (shout out to Jennifer!) who had also graduated, so when Maya came along, there was definitely an adjustment period. Since then, we have settled into an easy, comfortable routine. Maya plays with the kids after school—swimming, rip sticking, basketball, etc.—and gets them to empty the dishwasher, do their homework, and then shuttles them around to their various after school activities. Both my girls have told me today that she was like their big sister—and, in Kennedy’s words, “now she’s just gone.”
And before Jennifer, we were blessed with Lexi, our beloved Mary Poppins, who will always occupy a special place in my heart as the person who lovingly cared for newborn Stuart, 3 year old Marin, and kindergarten Kennedy while I started my Ph.D. program.
I’ve had more than my fill of messages in church reminding me that my divine purpose in life is to birth and care for children. And I have done that (and continue to do that—the caring part, not the birthing part!)—but it’s very much been a responsibility shared between me and these beautiful women. It is no small thing to entrust your children to the care of someone else. We have done that with each of these women and have reaped the blessings of having them in our children’s lives.
So on this Mother’s Day, a huge thank you from the depths of my soul to my children’s Other-Mothers. God bless us, every one.