Lil E woke up too early, rushed in to ask me if he could give me his gift right now! He snuggled up to me touching every little present before I could, so delighted with each tiny treasure he chose. Inside a beautiful, brightly embroidered cosmetic bag, there was a purple and pink barrette, lip balm that smells like cake, a love-note pad and -- his favorite -- a tiny pink seal eraser.
I pulled my hair back, fastened it with the sparkling barrette and asked what he thought.
"BEAUTIFUL!" he said. I had to have been shining brighter than the rhinestones in my hair.
We were late to church school and I had no idea his class was singing in front of the congregation, but LIl E rolled with it. He doesn't always roll with it. But here, at our church, he is fine with whatever comes. That, and the kid loves to be on stage. Even if he is simply moving his mouth open and shut around a wide grin without singing or knowing a single word. Which is what he did.
He brought me a marigold planted in a styrofoam coffee cup. I left him eat two desserts at coffee hour.
Then we took my mom to lunch, where he took pictures of us with the beautiful, oversize-budded roses given to every mother at a table. Lil E wanted one so badly he didn't even smile when I said he could have one -- as soon as he gave birth.
But I let play a game that depletes every drop of juice from my phone, the pasta came and he completely forgot about being without a flower.
We napped. For 2-1/2 blissful hours. And even better, when we woke up, it was still sunny outside and just enough warmth remained to take a walk in our neighborhood.
We looked at all the flowers blooming in neighbor's yards, marveled over our favorites -- tulips, violets, magnolia trees, dandelions.
It wasn't a perfect day. He reminded me of that in the tub, covered in a bubble beard and mustache, and apologized for having such a hard time listening to me today. It had edged all these wonderful moments, but it was over.
Then bedtime. We finished a chapter book. We said our prayers. I sang songs. He pushed closer to me, his body a little "c" and mine the big "C" around his. The room went silent until I kissed him goodnight and he whispered, "Happy Mother's Day, Mommy. I love you!" It sounded very awake, but in a few minutes, I could sense an ease fall across our whole apartment that tells me he is finally asleep. He was.
I became a mother for this one child. With him, I've learned I am more centered and assured and steady than I am with anyone else. For him, I am always trying to be healthier, sleep more, work harder, give more, get calmer, be funnier. Because of him, I cannot imagine what my life would be like if I was not a mother. He pushes me to the edge of my patience, he has made me truly appreciate a potty joke, he has curbed my swearing by yelling out, "MOMMY! BAD WORD! QUARTER IN THE JAR!" He has shown me how many times in one day the words "put your underwear back on" and "no. more. treats" and just plain "no" can be said, and in how many anger-diffusing accents.
So I will take this day, lovely and lazy, boundary-pushing and beautiful, time out-threatening and lip-synching, teary and with extra treats, quiet and hilarious, in bloom and still budding, simple and sweet. I will take it in all those complicated, predictable, dichotomous ways because that's exactly what mothering -- and being a mom to him -- has been so far.