It’s the morning after Mother’s Day, and I am still so relaxed that I haven’t left my bed. I’ve edited a ton, but I haven’t dealt with the mess in my kitchen, or the laundry on my couch. I have a load that was left yesterday evening, and I know I’ll probably have to just re-wash it at this point. But…I’m not in any rush to do so.
Two days ago, I had all of these thoughts about Mother’s Day – like a child pondering what to put on his Christmas list – What did I want? What did I really, truly want? Flowers. Anything BUT flowers. Cards, but only if they’re meaningful. A clean house. Brunch. Sleep. Time outdoors. Laziness. Ice cream. Snuggling. Movies. Walking. A long drive. Pizza. Not cooking, anything. Hours alone. Hours with my husband. Hours with my children. Chocolate. Not chocolate (I still have a bag of dark chocolates that Vinnie gave me for Valentine’s Day 2015, sitting in my refrigerator…) Everything. Every. Single. Thing. And nothing. Just a day of nothing.
Sometimes, I have a tendency to think of Mother’s Day as a day to be served, and I was, on some levels, probably anticipating twenty-four hours of having everything that I normally do, be done without me having to lift a finger or beg or plead.
What I got for Mother’s Day: A pile of construction paper cards from the kids. The coat hanger that Evie pulled the dress she was wearing for church down from. A necklace made from a bracelet and a tangled, broken, chain that Lila pulled from the bottom of her drawer. A Dollar Store purchase of “rose scented” soap petals, (for all of the luxurious baths that I take). And a long, weepy, hug from Alex, apologizing that he had lost the card that he made for me.
After spending the morning at a lovely brunch with my mother, sister and grandmother, I caught back up to my family…at Sam’s Club, where we spent an hour waiting for a flat tire to be repaired. (Nothing says “Thanks Mom!” like free samples of coleslaw salad and Manchego cheese crostini, while strolling through aisles of 25 lb-bags of dog food.)
I came home to a house that was still in shambles from a long and busy week of celebrating Vinnie (and singing along to Hamilton) – then, so exhausted from the busy week, I nearly fell asleep on our drive to the trail I wanted to visit.
We walked. We climbed trees. We pointed out different flowers. We paused at every scenic overlook or bench. While Vinnie and the older kids played a strange version of tag along the path, I carried Evaline and smiled, listening to their goofiness happening behind us.
We ate ice cream at my favorite seasonal stand, bought with the pile of soft singles that we pulled from the jar on our bedroom dresser.
We came home to the disaster of our house, beds that never got made, and an evening of nothing-specific. Alex made dinner for the kids and the others haphazardly “did the dishes” when they were finished. Vinnie pulled out his laptop to work on Ragnar organizational things. I ordered pizza for the two of us, poured some wine and pushed the pile of laundry on the couch over, just enough, that he and I could cuddle together while watching a movie.
And…it was all so perfectly imperfect.
I think, the night before Mother’s Day, all I wanted was to have all of the messiness taken care of, for me. I wanted to have the laundry folded, the floors swept, the counters wiped down. All, without me. I wanted to feel like I got a day off, and that those around me appreciated what I do, daily, as they had to pick up the slack.
Turns out, what I got was better – and it was the gift I gave myself – I didn’t need anyone else to do anything for me. I just needed to give myself permission to take a day off. A day to let go of all that always needs to be done, and relax instead. Rather than hoping for the work to be done without me – I exhaled and slowly settled into the mess with the kids and my husband, and just…was.
It was brilliant.
Even better, it’s a gift that I can give myself, as often as I’m willing to accept the crumbs and clutter, and having my feet curled under a pile of my children’s underwear and socks, while enjoying an evening with the man who’s right in the middle of the mess with me.
(I still haven’t made my bed today. Exhale. And it’s okay.)