They’ve been working furiously since last weekend. They’ve been whispering, planning, plotting. They’ve been cutting, gluing, taping. At first, I was banned for days from the school room. Then the work moved into the playroom. Hours and hours they spent at the school table, working. Paper slivers all over the floor. The stapler, tape, and glue missing. Then, they moved on to the playroom, where the door remained religiously shut. Usually with them inside.
“Don’t go in there, Mama!” They’d shout.
So, I stayed away. They’d run in, one of them, then out, then in again with stuff hidden under their arms.
“Don’t look, Mama!”
And I didn’t. I shut my eyes until they had passed. Then the door slammed again and all I could hear was furious whispering and giggling. My curiosity was high, but I didn’t dare ruin their surprise.
“How many more days, Mama?”
Counting down the days till Mother’s Day. Figuring on how much time they had left, how much more they had to do. How long till they could finally reveal their surprise, show all of their hard work. I’d never seen them work so hard. I had no idea what was behind that door.
And the morning dawned. Church, Sunday school, then lunch. Finally, it was time. They came and found me reading. They clamored around me, yelling and giggling. Begging.
“Can we show you now, Mama?”
And so they did. I was ushered to the closed door of the playroom by my husband while the girls waited inside. I heard more whispering and then, “Are we ready? Okay!” And then I was allowed in. The door flew open, and my heart broke into a million pieces.
Strung zig-zap across the room were white lights, which made the whole room glow. The puppet theater was set up in the front of the room, with chairs lined up complete with place cards. A tea party in a different part of the room, with food and copious amounts of handmade gifts in a pile. It had the look of a fancy garden party. I was taken to my seat, front row, and then treated to a puppet show by my Mary. Then, the tea party where a real cookie was gifted to me by my Lizzie-Bits. We “ate” and “drank,” made merry conversation. Then, back to my seat, where I was treated to a magic show. Then the gifts. So many gifts. Paper dolls, pictures of me having tea parties or coffee with my sweet girls. A hand cut paper bouquet that bloomed when you took off the paperclips. Everything was planned to the minute detail. And I just kept thinking,
“I don’t deserve this.”
All my life, I wanted children. While most teenage girls were dreaming of their latest crush, I was dreaming of someday having a houseful of kids or being pregnant with another baby while my children played around me. I had no idea how challenging or exhausting it would be. Or how beautiful.
I don’t deserve it. My children idolize me. In their eyes, I am nearly perfect. They call me Queen Mommy and constantly tell me so emphatically, “You are the best mama ever!” Oh children, how kind you are.
Today, as the lights were glowing and more presents were laid in my lap, I just kept crying. And thinking, it cannot get any better than this. Crayon pictures, messy glue, crooked tape. Absolute love. I’m so blessed to call these souls my children. These four incredibly loving, hard working, servant-hearted children who made me a mother. They are mine. I take no credit. I have been truly blessed.
Someday, sooner than I think, the teen years will descend. It will bring its own beauty. Conversations, coffee dates, shopping ventures. But also hormones and sensitive feelings. Misunderstandings. Hard rules made with love. There will be no crayon pictures, the tape will be straighter, and I won’t be able to tell it was glued. The brightly drawn pictures will turn to store bought cards. The handmade gifts will instead be bought and wrapped.
These days. These exhausting, long days. They will pass. These days, where my dreams have come true, are fleeting. These days are special. Full of an innocent, complete love. A forgiving love. A bright crayon, messy glue, crooked tape love. And, oh, how wonderful these days are.