A Hidden Mother’s Day Gift

Twas the night before Mother’s Day, when all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

My pillow was plumped in my bed over there,

In hopes that my children would treat me with care.


Hmmm, I wondered. What will my three kids do for me tomorrow?

Life with two emerging teenage boys and an eight-year-old daughter whom we adopted two years prior had drained me. I yearned for a break.

I devised the perfect plan to communicate my needs. Two days before Mother’s Day, I posted a message on Facebook for my husband to read: “I don’t need a fancy Mother’s Day present. I just want to sleep in and wake up to a clean house.” Hopeful expectations filled me as I dozed off. Little did I know, I was about to receive the most unexpected gift.

Here’s how Mother’s Day started:

1:00 AM– “Mom,” my thirteen-year-old son said as he stood beside my bed. “I’m all stuffed up.” I squinted and peered at him. Really? I thought. You woke me up for that?  I felt like asking, “How old are you?” but compassion overruled. “It’s okay sweetie. It’s just a cold. Lie still in your bed, and on your side. Your nose will drain, and you’ll fall back to sleep.” Phew. Crisis averted. He returned to bed content.

3:00 AM – “Mommy. Mommy. Mommy.” My eight-year-old daughter bawled as she bolted into my room. “My ears and throat hurt.” I could hear my daughter but my eyes felt too heavy to open. “It’s okay honey,” I squinted as I finally opened my eyes. “Let me feel your head.”

A fever brewed. “You need some medicine,” I said. “It will take the pain away. We’ll see a doctor in the morning.” I got up, gave her Motrin, and held her in my lap. I rubbed her back and soothed her tears away. “How about you sleep with Mommy?” I suggested. She nodded and grinned. I nudged my husband to the edge of our queen-sized bed and then squeezed her in with us.

3:30 AM – I rubbed my daughter’s back and kissed her tears.

4:00 AM – I rubbed her back and whispered comforting words.

4:30 AM –More of the same.

5:00 AM – The magic hour. She fell asleep and so did I.

8:00 AM – “Happy Mother’s Day,” my oldest son exclaimed as he jumped on top of me and jolted me awake. My other children followed suit: “Happy Mother’s Day! Happy Mother’s Day!” Each gave me their heart-felt homemade cards.

Neither my night nor my day turned out as planned. I received neither the sleep nor the clean house, but I received something greater. My daughter’s ear infection and strep throat became an opportunity for me and her to attach with each other. All afternoon, I snuggled her, I gave her medication, and I soothed her. I felt privileged.

Mother’s Day exceeded my hopes. My children showered me with love, and peace reigned. What a gift in the most unexpected way!

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