This year for Mother’s Day, Wes did something very, very sweet.
Because he’s a pastor, he has to leave the house insanely early every Sunday and can’t do the standard “help the kids fix breakfast in bed for Mommy.” It’s all good, though, because I’ve never known any different since that first Mother’s Day when I had a ten month old and was seven months pregnant (glory, y’all) and probably couldn’t have told you what planet we were on, much less what day it was, thanks to the miniscule amount of sleep I was getting. And, oh yeah, we were in Japan where I don’t think we even celebrated Mother’s Day. Big fat deal, right?
Clearly, I just don’t care. But Wes, God bless him, made me care this year by waking me up with a gift card to McDonald’s. He had told me the day before that I should go and get breakfast for myself on the way to church, and to make sure I did it without feeling guilty for spending the money (which I tend to do), he got the gift card. He’s a good, good man. He told me he’d see me at church, and then, he was gone.
And so I woke the girls up and enjoyed their homemade presents and was feeling the love, y’all. Love, love, love! I made them a delicious, wonderful, BIG breakfast, got them ready for church, and anticipated buying my own breakfast, which I planned on enjoying in silence in the pastor’s office after I sent the girls to Sunday school.
I was just pulling out of the drive-thru when Ana said, “Can I eat some of your hotcakes?”
My mind clicked through several responses to this, my initial one being, “NOOOOO!!!! These are MY hotcakes that I’m going to enjoy ALOOOOOOOONNNNE!!!” If you’re a mom of little kids, you know that alone time is a precious thing, especially since you don’t even get to go to the bathroom by yourself most days. Can’t a mother get a little time to herself to eat breakfast on Mother’s Day?
I refrained from saying this to Ana and instead said, “You already ate breakfast.”
She responded with, “But I would like some hotcakes now.”
And I shot back with, “For real?!”
And she shot right back with, “Yeah.”
Thus began a rather selfish and annoyed tirade from the biggest baby in the world… yes, me. On and on I went about how I just wanted to eat my breakfast and how sweet Wes had been to tell me to get it for myself and how I had slaved over a hot stove making the girls’ breakfast and how they weren’t even thankful and how my feelings were hurt by their selfishness and how I wasn’t even going to get to eat my own Mother’s Day treat and what about me, me, me, and blah, blah, blah.
It was a low moment for me.
Before I could launch into more “woe is me” rhetoric, I looked back in the backseat to see that Ana was crying. “It’s okay, Mommy,” she said softly. “You don’t have to share anything with me.”
Really, Jenn? Was a little breakfast by yourself worth this? Ugh. Way to go, Mommy.
So, you know what I did, right? I drove to ANOTHER McDonald’s and bought ANOTHER set of hotcakes. And a biscuit. And a regular milk. And a chocolate milk. Because once the requests started rolling in? Well, they really started rolling in. And by the time we got to the church with absolutely NO time to spend enjoying our meal before we had to rush off to Sunday school, the girls ran into the building without me, leaving me to haul all that food inside by myself. Of course.
I was in a fine, fine mood on Mother’s Day. And prepared to tell everyone just how GLORIOUS it is to be a mother as my two tiny children danced around me screeching about breakfast in their merry, cheerful way while I felt like the worst person on earth. Selfish, self-centered, greedy, heartless… just a great, great mom.
I encouraged them to eat like pigs in slop because we had approximately two minutes to “enjoy” my Mother’s Day breakfast before we needed to be upstairs. They did so, proclaiming this the best breakfast EVER, even as I cried and barely tasted anything as I ate through my tears.
Honestly, I could feel nothing but complete loathing for myself and my selfishness. Are my kids selfish? You bet they are. Could they be anything BUT selfish when they have me as their example? Likely not. I had taken what could have been no big deal at all and made it into a huge deal. And I’d made my six year old cry in the process.
Before I took them to Sunday school, I got down on the floor so as to look them in the eyes and told them, very simply, “You hurt my feelings. But that didn’t give me a reason to hurt yours.” And I bawled my eyes out and asked them to forgive me, telling them that Mommy messes up so often but Jesus never does. And tender-hearted Ana cried with me, while Emma sighed, patted me on the back, and proclaimed with great enthusiasm, “We will not make you cry on Mother’s Day NEXT year!” God bless her. And I hope I won’t make THEM cry next year!
I started down the hallway, still wiping away at my tears, when we met up with Wes, who quickly took the girls to their classes. And then, he came back to the pastor’s office and let me cry all over him. Hey, I was already being such a stellar mother — why not add being a stellar pastor’s wife to the list of achievements for the day? A hysterical wife is just exactly what the pastor needs before going to preach a sermon. Hallelujah!
I collected myself enough to go to my own Sunday school class… where I cried all over again. (Praise God for my wonderful Sunday school class, full of mothers who get it. And by “it,” I mean that they get and understand how being someone’s mother makes you a cup and a half of crazy.) I felt so bad after church that I picked Chuck E. Cheese for my Mother’s Day lunch. Chuck E. Cheese, y’all!
All that said, I’m thankful that I don’t have to be perfect for my children. And I’m thankful that even these selfish Mommy moments happen so as to remind me of that and to provide irrefutable proof to my children that Mommy needs Jesus just like they do.
Thankful for grace on this parenting road. Especially on Mother’s Day!