It is 6AM and I am anticipating the loud alarms that will go off upstairs and waiting for mine. My alarm sounds just barely as I swipe it off on my I phone. I don't hear the kids' so I figure they won't be going off. I get up and head upstairs, but first turn the oven on 400 degrees to preheat and spray a baking sheet and place biscuits on them, take out some sausages and put them to cook on low. I put the coffee on for Paul.
I head upstairs and M is already dressed and ready to tame her lioness curls. This is so M-independent, self sufficient, responsible, first child. W is fast asleep and I know he will growl if I turn on his light so instead I crawl into bed with him and snuggle him awake, luring him out of bed with, "you like to be early to school to play in the gym....you better get up!" It works so now I can move his clothes we laid out last night onto his pillow and open the blinds.... no light yet, that's phase 2.
Since I'm there I turn into the laundry room and put a load of clothes in the washer, secretly feeling giddy that I will get home in time to move them efficiently to the dryer, and then continue with the rest of the pile in a quiet house!
I then work on W to get him in the final stages of getting out of the bed. He is layin on the floor in his pjs practically asleep. This is so W. He needs more time, full assistance (or wants it not really needs) coddling, second child-the baby! I push his little back with my bare foot and pretend I am going to walk on him. He laughs and yelps at my cold bare foot. But he also gets up and starts to get dressed.
I go down stairs and brush my own bushy hair and decide that is a good enough start. I unload the dishwasher and load it with a couple of dishes that got left behind last night before I went to bed. I look at the empty sink satisfied but note in my head I need to bleach it back to perfectly white later today. I flip the sausages and flip them again a couple of times. I open the oven to check the biscuits that I slipped in sometimes in my morning wondering. I note to stop opening the oven to check or they will never cook! A voice in my head put there decades ago from either my own mama or hers my grandmother.
I go back to my bathroom to brush my teeth and am accosted by Paul while I am rendered helpless with toothpaste and water all over my face. I decide I'll slip on a raincoat and take the kids to school in my pjs this morning.
The kids start meandering down. By this time I've made their breakfast plates exactly as they like them, turned off the oven, stacked my library books to return today, and probably mindlessly done a few more chores as I walked around. M likes grape jelly on her biscuit with sausage inside. W will want a plain sausage biscuit with an extra sausage on the side. I lay out extra on the stove in the event that Paul will want to eat breakfast this morning-he does. None for myself as I am working on losing a few pounds. Mary grabs a plate and starts taking it apart and making requests. I take the plate back and switch them as she has grabbed W's. Hers is ready just like she likes it.
They eat and get cleaned up. Paul reminds me-picture! I run into my room to grab my phone off the alarm stand and get some shots of my new 3rd grader with his dad dressed to kill. I'm standing in a skirt I slipped on (because W said at least change out of your pajama shorts!) my pajama tank top, flip flops, and Mary's old rain coat I borrowed (I'll take one tomorrow!).
We head out and start the half hour drive to school listening to the Christian channel K Love. One of my favorite songs comes on-Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave. We all are just in peace. In the car, listening to the radio. It's just peaceful. It feels easy for once. It doesn't happen often, rare is this kind of smooth morning. We are on time. Not rushed. Traffic is not too bad. We pass a trooper and I'm going the exact speed limit. Peace. I am overwhelmed with Joy.
I turn in to drop W off for his first day of third grade and I say, "I love you more than you can ever even know! Have a good day!" and he says, "I love you more!" It hits me like an arrow and I want to grab him and squeeze him, but he hops out of the car independently and heads to the gym in his gap khaki shorts, his white crisp unstained school shirt,his tall black Nike socks, and new tennis shoes. I gasp and tell Mary as I watch the back of his camo backpack go inside, "He's SO handsome!" I grab my face and try not to cry and M shouts at me, "Hurry up I need to get to school!!!" I drop her next and have a good cry on the way home. A happy cry. I think of how many of us moms are doing that on our kids' first day of school. I think of this paradise phase of life I'm in-kids ages 11 and 8. I savor it as it will change daily into another amazing phase but not the same as this one today.
On the way home I think of how happy I am. I think how whatever happens in our future, every single day I wake up to my kids is and has been a gift. But I also acknowledge in my head thankfully that this job-being mama-is cumulative without a beginning and end. Yes, the role changes month by month, year by year. It started with diapers and babies, then changed to zoo trips and toddlers and daycare, to school aged kids and being their tutor, always has been maid, chef, dr, nurse, teacher, to social events and play dates, and chauffeur. But the fact is it has no end. I still call my mama each week and tell her all my stories, ask her advice, cry to her, share books and gifts with each other, laugh with her. Last night I was looking up scripture on not growing tired of doing "good" even for those who don't return the favor, and I was thinking all the while of my mama. The scripture she had on doors and walls of our home. The goodness she instilled in me with all my rottenness!
I realized on the way home this morning that every experience, every first day of school, every song sung, every church visit, every breakfast cooked for me by my mama is still within me. She may not be doing it for me daily anymore but as I do it-it is still in me as if she were waking me up to pancakes and singing the breakfast buddy song she wrote about me and my cat! A mother's love is cumulative:
1. increasing or increased in quantity, degree, or force by successive additions
synonyms: increasing, accumulative, growing, mounting, collective, ... more
When we grow old and mamas and grandmamas are gone, they are just as present in us as the day we were born. Their love, their recipes, their stories, their genetic characteristics, their upbringing, their values, their encouragement, their strength. It makes me so very proud to have the title and role of mama. It feels much bigger than myself. I also cherish each moment as mama because the role changes. Mamas adapt to new roles, older children, encourage self sufficiency and independence. I will make room for others one day, and I hope I get to stand back and enjoy getting to see my own kids in the stage of sweet life that I am now. I hope I get to see M be a mama and W be married to one.