Why is that Mama putting her feet in cereal? Rose asks.
No Rosie, theres no cereal in there, shes just putting her feet into milk. Col explains.
The kids are paging through a glossy magazine at the dentists office. Theres a whole spread on Mothers Day, full of highly Photoshopped ideas about how to pamper ones Mama. Theres a flawlessly-skinned mother receiving a tiny, dietetic breakfast in bed the kind that would fuel you long enough to put the clothes in the washing machine before collapsing in weakness. And theres a mother with her feet plunged in a milk bath swirled with rose petals, while someones strong, masculine hands knead her shoulders.
I explain to the kids the idea behind Mothers Day, and Rose wonders, When is it ever going to be Kids Day?
Good point, Rose! Because you need a break from all the drudgery of playing and riding bikes and sitting down to nutritious meals that later get whisked into the sink while youre back to playing.
Every day is Kids Day, I tell them.
And every day is Mothers Day, too, Col says brightly.
And hes right.
And its not that every day someone is toting a tray of blueberries and champagne into my bedroom with hands lotioned up for my morning massage. No, its more like there I am, still in my bathrobe, hunched over the stove taking orders for the kids third breakfast. Rose is at the table, a pile of bread crusts scattered around her plate, butter smeared in her golden-brown hair; Col is busily wondering, Why is Christmas just one day? and What if we called Baby Grace, Baby grease!
But really, its a privilege to feed these ravenous children, to nourish their small bodies that are quietly taking shape as if chiseled by an invisible sculptor who works by night. Its a gift greater than milk-soaked feet to watch Rose flying down the street on her bike, her radiant smile like protective armor. Or to see Col spy the first black cricket of the season, more thrilled than if hed seen a $20 bill tucked under a shrub.
Theyre so happy, I often tell Dan with a sigh, as happy about their happiness as they are.
Our days are strung together like a garland of ordinary moments. Meals are made, books are read, jackets are zipped, dandelion bouquets are presented and hands are held: their tiny fingers like jewels in my palm.
Sometimes it seems like these moments and our tightly braided lives will go on forever, an endless string of breakfast dishes and bug spotting. But they wont. Someday my children will walk by a clump of sunny dandelions and not think to scrabble them together into a sweaty bouquet. Someday my bed wont be full of children wriggling like puppies before the sun is even up.
Im grateful to walk by my childrens side for as long as theyll let me, nourished by the gift of their lives. Every day is Mothers Day.
Rachel Turiels column runs the first and third Sunday. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog, 6512 and growing, on raising an urban homestead.