Sunday, May 9, 2010

The way they celebrate me: by arguing and with human waste and lots of love

We sat in the children's service at our synagogue Friday night and said the words in English, for the kids to learn, that we ordinarily chant in Hebrew:

You should love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might;

and I thought: that's how I love them, too. We sat in the children's service again on Saturday morning and I thought: this one I love with all my heart, and that one I love will all my soul, and that one I love with all my might. That's my love for my three kids.


I wanted to give you more presents than this! she whined at me. But I didn't have time to make them!
"Love," I told her, "you can give me presents that you made any time." So all day she enumerated her affection. This is my 10th present for you! she said as she kissed my arm. This is my 11th present for you, she said, and jumped into my lap with a hug.


We have lunch together at the diner on the way to an afternoon downtown. The girls sit on either side of me in the booth, leaving their brother to man the table end from his stroller and their daddy alone in the (big, spacious) bench on the other side. When we stand up to leave I see that there is a scramble egg chunk sticking to my skirt through the miracle of maple syrup.


We were driving home from our afternoon downtown and all three children were either asleep or daydreaming in the back of the car. I asked the lovely husband, "if I told you I love one of them with all my heart and one of them with all my soul and one of them with all my might, could you line up which one is which?" and to his credit he didn't even look at me funny. He made his guess.


She wailed when I stopped her from scaling the bookshelves. She just wanted to look at the DVDs, she told me through sobs. We compromised geniusly, I thought, when I had her grab the stepstool from the bathroom so she could get closer to the height of the DVD collection. She looked and then walked away. Her sister called from the bathroom an hour later. Could someone bring me the stool? I peed and I need to wash my hands! I removed the stool from the bookshelves and returned it to the bathroom, so she sobbed again. Her Daddy whispered something in her ear and flipped a behavioral switch. Happy Mother's Day! she exclaimed and remembered, and landed on me with a smile and a kiss.


G will be three months old later this week, and he gave me his own Mother's Day gift. With his teachers' help, he took a picture of himself and turned it into a keychain. L gave me construction paper flowers. E drew me a card and all of the written message within it was lettered by her own hand.


"You got 'might' right," I told him, "but switch 'heart' and 'soul.'"

But he disagreed with me and told me I was wrong. "No, you love that one with all your heart, and that one with all your soul."

"It's my love! How can you tell me which child I love with all my heart and which child I love with all my soul?"

"Because you're wrong," he said, and smiled.

"Why do you think so?" I persisted.

"Because that one is you, just smaller. That one has your soul."

His reason is why I thought that one has my heart.


I found three pieces of uncooked pasta in my underwear drawer.


I snuggled her near to sleep, or so I thought. I have one more present for you, she said. Hold out your hand! So I obliged.

"Did you just give me a handful of your boogies?"

If four-year-olds can chortle, she chortled.


It's one of those things you don't understand until you learn it for yourself: it takes a lot of heart and soul and might to love this much. But it takes perhaps even more heart and soul and might to receive being so loved.

A very happy Mother's Day to all the mamas I know. Pin It


Emily said...

Happy Mother's Day!

If I said this was a beautiful post it might sound silly because so many of your posts are touching and funny and beautiful. So, I won't say that. Instead, I'll just tell you: the part about the handful of boogies made me cry.

Inna said...

Happy Mother's Day!

SmartBear said...

love is a handful of boogies...
as usual, you amaze me.

This Heavenly Life said...

I loved your mother's day :) I think I hear the chortles.

Lovely, lovely post, Robin.

Jill@ClearestGlimpse said...

Thanks to Sarah @ This Heavenly Life I was directed here and got to read about your Mother's Day. What a lovely post. I'm glad to know that sticky food and boogies live happily side by side with hugs and kisses in your house, too. I'll eagerly be back!

a li'l bit squishy said...

Late to the wishes as always, but happy belated Mother's Day to you. It seemed just perfect. AND you got me thinking about heart and soul and might. And wondering where my fourth baby might fit, guess there's enough of me for all of them even if it doesn't fit the prayers quite so neatly!! I have missed you, R. So sorry that I am so far remiss in my reading when you are so consistant in your writing.