My husband is trying very hard to give me a nice Mother's Day. He has formed "the Mother's Day Committee" and members include himself and our two daughters. This morning the committee's mission was to eat breakfast, get dressed, count their money, and go out shopping for a couple of hours so I could baste a quilt on the kitchen floor, a project I've been wanting to get to for six weeks or so. I believe the committee has also been exhorted by the Chairman to avoid complaining, be obedient, and be kind.
I decided to celebrate the start of Mother's Day weekend by picking up the upstairs of my house. I put away my own laundry and ironed two of my husband's shirts. I made the bed, put away all the hairbrushes in the bathroom , and cleared the hallway floor of clutter. Downstairs, Jeff made the girls their first bagel and turned to ESPN.com, and just as I was sitting down to eat mine, I had to get up to make them their second because they didn't like the first.
All these necessary things having been done, I announced (first mistake) that I was going out to drink my coffee and read a devotional in peace. Livie immediately wanted to follow me, and when Daddy said she couldn't she began crying and pounding on the sliding door.
"Hey, the Mother's Day Committee doesn't throw temper tantrums," my husband says. That didn't work. So he locked the sliding door (not sure what purpose that served, since our daughter knows how to unlock it), and took her upstairs. I read my devotional to the soothing sounds of birds chirping and my four year old yelling "I want Mommy" from her bedroom window.
Scripture and coffee both having been consumed, I got up to go get my second cup of coffee. And found my family had locked me out of the house.
Upstairs, Livie was no longer crying, but was now in the shower with Daddy. Well, I wanted to be alone in the backyard, and now I had no other choice.
When they finally came down and let me back in, the girls emptied their piggy banks out on our echo-producing laminate flooring, and spent 15 minutes clanging quarters and having melt downs because they had lost count. I would gladly at this point have given them each a quiet $20 bill and sent them out the door, but they really wanted to buy my gift with their own money.
When finally they left the house, I wished them luck on their shopping trip and told them to take their time.
The quilt is now basted and they are still not back. So I'm taking a moment to reflect on the fact that my children love me more than anything else in the world. So much that they often can't seem to live without me for even the time it takes for me to take a shower, go to the bathroom, or read four lines about peace and joy from the Bible. So much that they want to buy me something with every last penny in their piggy bank.
And my husband, chairman of the Committee, loves us all so much that he is trying to make every one of us happy, even though he ends up doing things like locking me out of the house.
The Committee made a bit of a mess of things this morning, but they've been gone about 90 minutes and I miss them. I'm learning to accept their imperfect attempts to please me, for what other choice do I have? And I certainly pray that they accept my stunted, fractured haphazard attempts at loving them.
There may be a perfect moment in the next 24 hours: when we are all clean and smiling, have full bellies and I have hot coffee in my hand. No one will be kicking anyone else, or talking too loud or chewing in anyone's ear or refusing to share or be locked in the back yard or shut up in their room. And it will last about three and a half minutes. But it will be enough.
Imperfect love may be annoying, smothering sometimes, even. But until I get to heaven, it's the only love I get from my family, and certainly the only kind I have to give. But it is precious, and it is enough.