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Every day is Mother’s Day

2011 May 8
by Rachel Turiel

How was your Mother’s Day? I hope expectations were um, appropriate given the celebrants, and that it was grand.

I requested eggs benedict for Mother’s Day breakfast and Dan, bless his generous heart, wasn’t deterred by the intimidating directions in The Joy of Cooking which require beating egg yolks until your arms fall off and interpreting the instructions: “barely heat.” While I lolled around in bed with a slightly embarrassing hangover because I forgot to eat at Rose’s birthday party, despite spending all day making elk chili, salad and buttermilk cake for our guests, Dan whisked egg yolks over a interpretive double boiler  (read: pot precariously sitting atop another pot filled with boiling water) while whisking in single tablespoons of water at orchestrated times. But, oh was it worth it (uh, for me).


And here’s a little something I wrote on Mother’s Day for my newspaper column:

~Every Day is Mother’s Day~

“Why is that Mama putting her feet in cereal?” Rose asks.

“No Rosie, there’s no cereal in there, she’s just putting her feet into milk.” Col explains.

“Oh. Okay Coley.”

The kids are paging through a Mother’s Day spread in a glossy magazine at the dentist’s office. There’s a flawless-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 there’s a mother with her feet plunged in a milk bath swirled with rose petals, while someone’s strong, masculine hands knead her shoulders.

I explain to the kids the idea behind Mother’s 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 you’re back to playing.

“Everyday is Kid’s Day,” I tell them.

“And everyday is Mother’s Day too,” Col says brightly.

And he’s right.

And it’s not that everyday someone is toting a tray of blueberries and champagne into my bedroom with hands lotioned up for my morning massage. No, it’s more like there I am, still in my bathrobe, hunched over the stove taking orders for the kids’ 3rd breakfast. Rose is at the table, a pile of bread crusts scattered around her plate, butter smeared in her golden-brown hair, exclaiming “I do like your homemade bread after all, Mama!” Meanwhile, Col is busily wondering, “why is Christmas just one day?” and: “What if we called Baby Grace, Baby Grease!’”

It’s a privilege to feed these ravenous children, to nourish their small bodies that are quietly taking shape, chiseled by an invisible sculptor who works by night. It’s a gift greater than milk-soaked feet to watch Rose flying down the street on her bike, her radiant smile like protective armor. The bells of my heart chime when I see Col spy the first black cricket of the season – he lunges after it as thrilled as if it’s a 20 dollar bill tucked under a shrub. My children’s happiness is the mindfulness bell bringing me back to the luck of my own life.

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, a endless string of breakfast dishes and bug-spotting. But they won’t. 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 won’t be full of children wriggling like puppies before the sun is even up.

I’m grateful to walk by my children’s side for as long as they’ll let me, nourished by the gift of their lives.

Everyday is Mother’s Day.


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28 Responses leave one →
  1. Kathy permalink
    May 8, 2011

    Happy Mother’s Day, Rachel! And yes, I believe your children will let you walk beside them for the rest of your lives. Their hands grow larger and stronger, their smile will meet at your height, and their hugs will be amazingly satisfying, just different. They will continue to bless and teach you, sooth your troubles, and care for you when you are older. I can see it now. But wait, let’s not hurry beyond today.
    My children are 26 and 31 and I still see them as little girls, one playing in the dirt with bugs and horny toads, and swinging her softball bat, and the other dancing around the swingset with her little tape player skirling bagpipes, singing at the top of her lungs. But I do love their loving me as adults.

  2. May 8, 2011

    OH Rachel! So WELL SAID! Thank you. As much as I try to keep this forever in mind, every little reminder helps, and yours is a BIG reminder! I have to admit, I didn’t have this take on mothering until Cole was around 4. Up until that point, it was too hectic and difficult for me. I really had to “grow up” into the role, and now, feel exactly as you have described. I’m trying to gobble up every available minute of love from this little one – until he’s too old to notice me on his way out the door to adulthood! Thanks!

  3. May 8, 2011

    My only request was Mimosas for breakfast. Which I got, along with fun-shaped pancakes.
    I so agree. I sometimes feel at the end of the day like I am sorting through my treasures, as I remember the bright and prickly parts of the day. I touch their sometimes soft, sometimes sticky heads way more than is needed in the course of the day, because it feels so right. Sometimes I’m exceptionally happy when a phase passes, and there is a sign of change and growth, but mostly, I try to revel in their now, and appreciate the swirl of time.
    Hm. The wine at/since breakfast must be affecting me.

  4. sabrina permalink
    May 8, 2011

    HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY RAch!!! did u get ur new camera???

  5. teresa permalink
    May 8, 2011

    so beautifully put! happy mama’s day to you!

  6. May 8, 2011

    I was awakened by baby puke at 6 a.m., which woke up the big brother, who threw a tantrum and slammed the door into the wall. But then I got homemade cards and yellow flowers and an acorn. And my daughter dressed up like an elephant (in a party dress) and braloooooooed a special song for me. Ups and downs, day in and day out, just as you said. And I absolutely wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Happy Mother’s Day, friend!!

  7. May 8, 2011

    Happy Mother’s Day, Rachel!

    Thank you for posting your column, too. I needed something to bring me back from the grumpy, tired of cleaning food off floors place, and that was just the thing! Beautiful!

  8. May 8, 2011

    So much good stuff *It’s a privilege to feed these ravenous children, to nourish their small bodies that are quietly taking shape, chiseled by an invisible sculptor who works by night.* Poetry, really.
    Funny full circle how everyday is kids day, but everyday is mother’s day because if our days didn’t orbit our babes, well, thus the full circle. Way to go, Dan. Well deserved, mama.

  9. May 9, 2011

    So good Rachel. And so true. Every day it’s good to be a mama :)

  10. May 9, 2011

    so very true! we don’t celebrate the commercial holiday other than going out to lunch. otherwise, mothers day is like any other day – there are cheeks to be kissed, diapers to wash, games to be played and it’s enough.

  11. May 9, 2011

    Very sweet…love the “mindfulness bell.” And what an awesome man that can and will make holondaise sauce!! A rare gift indeed.

  12. rose permalink
    May 9, 2011

    “My children’s happiness is the mindfulness bell bringing me back to the luck of my own life.” seriously?!? that one is going on my fridge.

    i had my own embarrassing hangover this weekend. a friend’s 40th b-day party. a party we were going to leave at a respectable time, but instead were the last ones to leave at a very un-respectable time. damn margaritas.

    mother’s day was lovely. after being admonished rather rudely (by her older sister) to not spill the beans about my homemade gifts, my 3yo refused to ever admit she made anything for me, but instead showed me the card she made for her “friend” for mother’s day. i wasn’t allowed to keep it.

  13. May 9, 2011

    i had a fantastic mamas day with quinn, tidepooling and then hiking in a forest-meadow-creek spot thick with frogs in the dripping grass. we found new nettle patches, best mamas day present ever. it’s a diy holiday around these single mama parts, so whenever that is the case we just head outside. especially with his new super cantankerous four year old ‘tude, it was the best option.

    on a side note, i keep forgetting to eat when gardening. something about preparing for new food to grow, causes it to slip from my mind that i actually need to feed the gardener now, if it’s going to matter in 6 months.

  14. May 9, 2011

    Oh yes, it is. I had no expectations because my housemates are two and a half and five (as of Saturday! Party same day as Rose’s!) and don’t know what Mother’s Day is. But we made chocolate chip pancakes after waking up to the first sunny day in what feels like weeks, and then the kids literally played in the yard all day long. My downstairs neighbors invited us to their Mother’s Day dinner, which means I didn’t have to cook. So all in all, I’d say it was great!

    Oh, and we, too, use an interpretive double boiler, all the time.

  15. May 9, 2011

    beautiful and eloquent. i can get caught up in the “ugh i’m so tired and toddlerhood is so taxing and my back hurts and WHY is she screaming NOW…” and forget how fortunate and grateful i secretly am. thank you for such a good reminder.

    and now i’m also secretly hungry for those eggs. YUM.

  16. May 9, 2011

    glad to read it too, like all the others. boy, this recurring resentment thing HAS GOT TO GO!! and boy, the first line was a hook… ‘appropriate’… :) oh brother, so simple. and hallelujah to eggs benedict, hallelujah!

  17. Melissa permalink
    May 9, 2011

    so beautifully put–every day is Mother’s Day, isn’t it?

    We went to Tilden today for the first time–to the Little Farm. My city boy asked, “why does it stink, Mommy?”

    I love the line about their fingers like jewels in your hand–so true, so sweet. I didn’t think it was possible for your writing to get better and then, there you go . . .

    xo from Berkeley!

  18. May 9, 2011

    Your kids are just so sweet and I enjoy every time what you write. It’s a pleasure. Happy Mother’s Day to ya!

  19. Barbara permalink
    May 9, 2011

    It sounds like your day was wonderful! You can tell Rose that my son Saba said on Sunday that “Today is Mother’s day and Tommorow is Other’s day” :)

  20. May 10, 2011

    Third breakfast. Tell me about it! :)

    Happy Mother’s Day, Rachel!!

    And Kids’ Day :)

  21. Molly permalink
    May 10, 2011

    I love the inner sarcastic dialogue you have with Rose. “Good point, Rose…” And zipping up jackets-I’ve become aware that I ALWAYS pat my daughter’s zipped up jacket’s belly after the zipping is completed, just one light open handed tap. It is completely involuntary, and significant.

  22. May 10, 2011

    sigh.

    and thank you.

  23. May 10, 2011

    Lovely mother’s day adventure with the kids. Somehow, through your pictures and watching the kids grow, I see how fleeting this business really is. And hey, you are starting a homeschool co-op? Would love to hear more.
    XOK

  24. May 10, 2011

    happy every day to you!

  25. May 11, 2011

    Thank you, thank you, yes! And I hope that you had a lovely day. And today, too.

  26. May 11, 2011

    Love:

    “My children’s happiness is the mindfulness bell bringing me back to the luck of my own life.”

    x

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