I also want to let you know that if you have been having hard day, you're not alone.
My day missed the mark of a picture-perfect Mother's Day by a mile. In fact, even the only photo that was taken of the day missed the mark.
Yep, Hubby caught the kids and me in the frame, but neglected to include what I wanted him to take a photo of - the breakfast my daughter had so eagerly gotten up to prepare for me.
(Just so I won't forget it over time without a photo to remind me, she made GFCF French toast, diced apples, and diced strawberries for us all on her own.)
Yes, hearing my daughter move around the kitchen to surprise me for breakfast - and ignoring the overly sensitive smoke alarm that went off as she did - was a sweet moment this morning.
Going to Mass together as a family was as well. In fact, I almost got good-teary when my fidgety oldest took my hand and positioned it palm up, hand flat, so he could rest his hand on mine. At that point, he discovered his hand is as big as mine now - or just a hair's breadth smaller - and showed me. Wow! When did he get so big? I welled up, remembering the long journey we've had with him so far and how God has graced us so many times throughout it.
Thankfully, such graces continued throughout this day, because shortly after Mass was when the "happy" in Mother's day became a choice, not a given.
At our lunchtime meal, my boy's ridiculous aversion to the mere presence of certain foods that were on the table for his sister got him going. That, coupled with the knowledge that he'd lost his online time for a week due to some behaviors the other day, kept him going, and, before long, a tempest of whining, complaining, disrespect, and carrying on blew through our home.
My son's stormy behavior threatened to wash any "happy" away from Mother's Day for us, but, Daddy, his siblings, and I chose not to let it. I firmly invited my son to leave the table and, then, the rest of us coached each other to ignore as many behaviors and words as possible and to act and react with happiness.
That worked for a bit, and we got through lunch okay. As we did, I kept inwardly thanking God for filling me with extra measures of patience, good humor, and grace as my son's storminess ramped up further and further. I also was grateful for my youngest's grin and my daughter's strong smile.
Unfortunately, my my oldest son's dark and angry front did not blow over after lunch, but persisted to hover in our home.
Through God' grace, I managed to avoid the not-so-great reactions that I sometimes fall prey to when one of my children carries on so incessantly. Throughout the literal hours of my son's nonsense, I did not yell in frustration nor anger, nor did I cry in exasperation or disappointment. Instead, I just kept quietly calling on Our Lady in my heart and mind and reminding myself of how the newly sainted Saints Jacinta and Francis, as well as Blessed Lucia, offered their sufferings - great and small - up. I also thanked my other two children for staying cheerful and playing kindly with one another as I tried to remain firm and loving with my son.
Yet, things escalated and got a bit ugly.
Then, thanks be to God, a change of location helped.
For years now, I have recognized that changing activities or location can help reset my children, so, even though Grammy was not home today, when there was a bit of lull in the emotional storm hitting out home, I decided that we should go as a family to drop off Grammy's Mother's Day gifts.
Daddy gallantly agreed to drive and even stood out in the cold drizzle when he noted our gas tank too empty to get to Grammy's and back - bless him!
Before departure, I quickly went through our Catholic audio CD's to see if there might be one that would help reset my tempest preteen. Mathew Kelly's Best Way to Live caught my eye. Once popped into our minivan CD player, the talk quelled the kids and, hopefully, spoke to their hearts some.
We were able to drop off Grammy's gift and even get a bit of an apology and smile out of my son (albeit coaxed with a bag of treat snacks) before heading home.
Things were beginning to look up, until, during the ride home, I was overcome with a sudden case of feeling awful. Headache, muscle aches, belly not right...
As soon as I let on how poorly I was suddenly feeling, my husband, who has never been great at things like cards, gifts, or even acknowledgement of special days (as in I do not even think he spoke the words, "Happy Mother's Day" to me at all today), immediately stepped up with what he is good at - being a steady husband and dad.
He had no qualms with me heading straight into our home and into bed, where he rubbed my head and comforted me for a bit until it was obvious the children needed him.
After resting for a short period, I recalled a toy my youngest had been asking to play with this past week and one that my oldest had not seen in a while which I though would interest them. Thus, when I heard some squabbles erupting in the front rooms, even though I knew my husband could handle them, I rallied to get the toys from the attic. I, then, told my husband what might be easy and healthful to make for dinner, and thanked him for letting me rest.
I heard a few residual storms from my son after that, but they were short lived, and, between the toys, some video time, and Daddy's care, the kids remained content enough most of the time that I could spend the remainder of the afternoon and evening trying to rest off whatever has physically hit me. I even heard laughter and joyful interactions at times - praise God!
My husband brought me soup upon request, which I was able to keep down, so I tried to sit with the kids and him at dinner for a bit. I felt awful then, though, so, went back to bed, where I remain, thankful for the luxury of being able to rest on this less than picture perfect Mother's Day.
As I rest here now, my boys and Dad are watching a series on the history of Rome, and my daughter has come in to snuggle with me. So, it's time to stop sharing and to get to mothering again.
Through challenges and through cheer, I know I am blessed to live in my calling as a mother. I am thankful for my children each and every day - even when the storms hit. I am also grateful for Our Holy Mother, who generously bestows such grace upon us.
May you Mother's Day - typically "happy" or not - conclude with a true inward happiness. I know mine is.