My birthday arrives in a week. This year, I’ll share it with Mother’s Day. As I woke the kids to get dressed for school this morning, my mind flashed back to five years earlier when my birthday also landed on the Hallmark holiday. Back then, life with young children often left me bleary-eyed.
At 7 a.m. on May 8, 2011, it took several minutes to rouse my older boys from their slumber. (At the time they shared a space, but have since moved on to separate rooms.) But when I did, 12-year-old Jack broke into a rowdy, delightfully off-key rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Soon, Danny, 10, enthusiastically joined in. As the two got dressed, I went across the hall to 6-year-old AJ’s room. He shot up in bed and shouted, “Hurray, it’s mommy’s birthday!” as though it was his own birthday he was celebrating.
At first, Josie – then 15 – grumbled about getting up. She always has a look of disbelief when I tell her it’s rise-and-shine time. But a short while later she bounded downstairs, holding a cookbook.
“This is for you. I bought it with my own money,” she said proudly, placing a copy of “Vegetarian Meals for Busy Moms” in my hand.
So they’d remembered. There was no pomp and circumstance, no surprise, in-home morning massage appointments. Still—corny, but true—it was the small things that made the start of my “new year” something special. Instead of the usual mommy-as-waitress stuff, Jack poured himself a bowl of Trix. Danny half-climbed the counter to get cups for the apple juice, while AJ insisted on putting his frozen waffles in the toaster (with my assistance, of course).
Once Josie was dressed, she showed up with another gift – a card signed by the kids. After a round of hugs, I placed it next to the one my husband had left earlier that morning, before he headed to work.
The one in which he’d written the words, “I hope I can help make all your dreams come true.”
And that’s when it hit me. There was no need to hope. They already had. And still do.