Yes, that is me in the photo. I was a first grader at a Catholic grade school and had just had my first "driving accident". I got a little too fancy with my bike riding and ended up hitting a crack in the sidewalk that sent me over the top of the handlebars --where I promptly did a face plant onto the cement. That resulted in a bloody nose and two black eyes. I still remember doing almost all of it, including my favorite little yellow & white checkered summer blouse I was wearing that was covered in blood, and the fact that I was only worried about if I was going to have to go to bed early. I also remember my Mom reassuring me as she cleaned my wounds and my trashed top in the bathroom that, "Little girls who have black eyes get to stay up as late as they want!" Well, that worked for me. Phew. I am certain that the memories of that day are correct, trust me, my memory is a great one. I am the person in the room that will remember what you were wearing when you told me something at a party that in 10 years you won't even recall you attended. It is a bit of a blessing and a curse, really.
That little snapshot of a moment in my young life started me thinking about Mother's Day and about mothering. At that point, my parents had four kids under the age of nine. Yikes. I am crazy busy with just two of my own little people.
We all know that being a Mom (and a Dad) is hard work. It is not for the faint of heart. My daughter bounces back and forth between wanting to being a little girl and growing into her own person. My son is still a Mama's boy in the best sense of the word. Right now they need me, for shoelace tying and homework, but I know that not too far down the road they will want to spend more time with their friends than with me, that I will be needed less for shoelaces and more for growing pains. I remember when they were very tiny, my friends and I used to say that just when we had one of their "stages" figured out, they started a new one. I think that may be a recurring theme of parenting.
I am certain I probably scared the hell out of my Mom that May evening when I bounced off the sidewalk in dramatic style, but my Mom's kindness, love and reassurance always made it all ok, no matter what. I remember what her hugs felt like when I was small, how soft her skin was, how her presence always made everything good again.
I worry every day of my life that I will do the right thing for my children, that I will be the best mother I can be. Some days I may fail to reach my own high benchmark, other days I look at their sleeping faces and know that they are safe, happy, mine. Happy Mother's Day to you, Mom. You are in my heart always. love, your daughter