5am. I hear a little whimper outside the bedroom door. I groan and roll myself out of the comfort of the covers. I turn the knob.
That little, froggy voice fills the quiet of the morning as he pulls his doggie by the neck with one pudgy hand and places the other in mine. I lead him to my bed and help him in, his head rests in the crook of my arm. Within a few moments his breath is steady and his eyes flicker in and out of dreams.
He sleeps away those wee hours of early morning, but now I’m wide awake. My mind races with thoughts of laundry and kindergarten registration, homework folders and what to send in lunch boxes. Groceries, overdue library books, bills, birthday gifts for friends, swimming lessons…I slide my arm out from under that little dozing noggin and slip out of bed.
“Mo-om! I don’t have any pants to wear!”
“Check the laundry room,” I holler back. “And look under your bed for that library book. You have library today!”
“May I please have some milk? Mom, can you cut up my waffle?”
“He wants YOU to change him.” My husband holds a very stinky toddler out with two arms and gives me a sympathetic look. Secretly I know he’s relieved. From across the room I can smell that this one is going to require lots and lots of wipes and possibly a quick soak in the tub.
“Hey Mom, will you check my math?”
“Check this out, Mom. It’s a rocket. See these wings? That’s for…” My mind trails off to the spilled milk under the table. “…and see, Mom? See how this bends here, and this folds like this… MOM! Are you listening to me?”
“I don’t like that apple sauce, remember, Mom? Can you pack me the other kind for lunch?”
“Mom! He’s singing that song again!”
I am MOM. I’m mom in the morning when our little family is going a million different ways, I’m mom in the evening when dinner needs to be made and the baby needs held. I’m mom in those quiet hours of the night when someone has a bad dream. I’m mom for the dirty diapers, the skinned knees, the teeth brushing, the muddy floors, the finger-printed windows, the tug-of-wars over the cheap toy from the dentist’s office. I’m mom when it’s convenient, I’m mom when it’s not.
But someday I’ll still be mom. I’ll be mom when they are no longer making finger prints on my windows or filling my days with laundry and trips to the playground. I’ll be Mom when they call home on Sundays to say hello, and I’ll probably long to hear those early morning whimpers again. When they visit, I’ll wish I could turn back the clock and hear them tell me about their Lego rockets and missing library books. I’ll stand on the porch and wave goodbye as they drive away, and I’ll remember those days when I’d wave to the yellow bus and see that little boy face in the window, sitting in a seat that nearly swallows up that little body.
Right now they need me. What a beautiful thing to be needed, to be the one they cry to when things aren’t going quite right. To be the finger that pudgy little hand grasps. The one they trust with their stories, their waffle that needs cut, their scrapes and bruises.
To all the moms out there, the ones who are in the throws of being constantly needed and the ones who have memories of those days long ago, Happy Mother’s Day. What an amazing responsibility we have to fill the needs of these little ones then watch them grow. Ours is a role unlike any other. They need us. The world needs us, and that is an incredible, beautiful thing.