I know there are women out there who hate Mother's Day for whatever their reasons (my own mother doesn't like it because she's never handled unbridled and insincere affection very well), but I tell ya, I love it.
We did a little revamping of Mother's and Father's Days this year because of money constraints and to change the focus from feeling like "I gave you a gift - what more do you want?" to "You mean so much to me and I don't just want to tell you, I want to show you." To be fair, we have never been so callous to each other as to have the "what more do you want?" attitude, but I really just wanted the day to focus on service and appreciation more than material things.
Ted did not disappoint.
I consider Mother's Day as spanning the weekend, so Saturday we spent at home together. We had company coming into town (not our own company - the father and brother of a friend in the ward needed a place to crash for the night before his graduation), so I had a loooooooong to-do list written out and after I made a breakfast of bacony eggs and seasoned hash browns (which I finally got right) we started to tackle it. I knew Ted had a Sunday night deadline for future job prospect interviews that he had to focus on, but instead, he took a look at my list and started in on it as well. He took the hardest jobs/projects - cleaning the entire guest bathroom on hands and knees because he knew I'd get major heartburn and poisonous fume effects if I attempted it myself, and tackling the bookshelf in the guest room that had become overrun with all the "stuff" you put someplace because there's nowhere else to put it.
He organized it, then went a step further by putting pictures in books, finding old postcards to put into empty frames, finding nails, hammer and measuring tape in order to hang said frames, putting all dangerous stab-a-kid's-eye-out objects one shelf higher, reorganized all the sewing tools that had accumulated onto the sewing table and moved all computer-related accoutrements to where we keep the computer (usually - it is a laptop, after all). Meanwhile, I switched out all the clothes Tessa's too fat for, put those into bins, and brought out the next batch. No one ever told me about that part of being a mom. I guess I knew babies grow and therefore, their wardrobes must change, but I didn't connect the two with the fact that I would have to do the changing. I think it's my least favorite part of being a mom because every article of clothing requires a decision, which is a pain. But I did it. For Mother's Day.
We washed sheets, made the bed, tidied up the room, brought out towels, stashed the stuff we didn't have time for into Tessa's room, hid the R-rated movies and yarn pile (equally sinful to some), and I finally got to making dinner at around 7pm. The only problem is that I had started brining a turkey boob the night before and HAD to cook it, but since it had to roast about 2 hours, I feared we were going to be eating as the company walked in the door.
I was right.
Thankfully, they were as low-maintenance and kind as can be, so all my anxiety and stress was for naught. Ted is a wonderful sounding board to my stress levels (aka "bitching"), so he heard his share of earfuls yesterday. It didn't help that I was pretty darn grumpy and Tessa had developed a fever and rash from her vaccines the day before.
Ted made breakfast this morning. It's pictured below. It has "Ted's doing" written all over it: orchid that he's kept alive since my birthday (Feb), 10 orange segments all in perfect rows, his mom's fabulous German pancake recipe baked to perfection on his very first solo try, every available sauce in our fridge to put on said pancakes (homemade strawberry jam and chocolate sauce not pictured), BACON (wasn't off the stove quite yet, and actually, that has ME written all over it rather than Ted, but it is my day after all, right?) our fancy silverware, and goblets for the OJ. Oh, but there's more....
See the level of liquid in the goblets? The one closest to you with the overexposed flash is Ted's. The man loves his OJ. Mine looks like it's been half drunk already. This is not because he drank it before I could come downstairs or because he "ran out" after he'd poured himself a hefty glass already. He is fully aware that the one food that gives me heartburn (even when not pregnant) is any volume of orange juice greater than 4 oz. He didn't want to plague my morning, so 4 oz it was. Sooooo sweet.
German pancakes with some homemade strawberry jam and lemon curd was, in a word, heaven. And bacon and chocolate in the same meal? How can you go wrong? I was moaning in deep pleasure with pretty much every bite (what is it about meals you don't have to think about or make that cause them to taste even better?), and before ya know it, we hear Tessa in the kitchen (who was having a smaller version of our meal) moaning with the same intensity and intonation as her mom. Just that alone would have made my day.
But then we went to church. Both talks in Sacrament meeting were fantastic, with special attention given to women who have been dealt sour cards in life situations, and I appreciated the sensitivity that both men used in addressing their remarks. The primary sang (Tessa was riveted) which is always a treat, and my gift from Tessa (other than the moaning) was being fed tiny bites of a PBJ during the rest of sacrament meeting, just like I've done to her oodles of times. And then giving me a very wet kiss after almost every bite.
I taught in Young Women about how we strengthen our testimony through obedience to the commandments. The insight that these 13- and 14-yr old girls have is incredible. They get it - better than I ever did at that age. I related my experience of gaining my own testimony as a teenager and how much strength I've drawn from that experience ever since then, but we talked about how laziness and disobedience can take us farther from what we know or have known is most important. I fall into that category so often. I don't ever intend to flagrantly disobey; I just get lazy. I get discouraged, too, but more often, it's laziness. Building a testimony requires doing, even if that doing is just a desire to do (Alma 32). "Strengthening" denotes an action, so it's only appropriate that our greatest insights and "golden nuggets" (I like to call them) are solely gained by getting off our butts and getting to it. It was a wonderful discussion, and the Spirit was so strong, that it was a shame to see our time together was over for the day.
The rest of the day was just as great. Tessa napped, we ate courtesy of Ted again, and once we stuffed our gullets, we started making phone rounds. My first stop was my "other mother" - the mother of one of my best friends whom I've known since I was 8 and who really has been the main part of the village who had to raise me. She and her family are going through an incredibly difficult time right now, and I've been thinking about her and praying for her every day for over a month, but because of the regular reports I was getting from her blog, from my friend, and from my mom (who is best friends with her as well), I never just picked up the phone and called her myself. Well, today I did, and even though she's the one going through a "rough patch" (and that's putting it soooooooo mildly), she made me so happy. We laughed and cried and talked about boobies. Basically, a standard wonderful phone conversation for me.
And then, my own dear mother. I waited for Tessa to wake up even though she just wants to eat the phone and press the buttons instead of blabber into it, but it was fun to have her there anyway. I talk to my mom all the time, so this was not an out-of-the-blue call for us. We just kind of picked up where we left off (from yesterday) and for the second time, she wished me a Happy Mother's Day, which is an incredible feeling.
I understand so much more fully what kinds of worries you were up against, what kind of love you felt for us, and how much we must have driven you crazy. I get why you streamlined your cooking, had a salad at every dinner, and switched to disposable diapers the second they were invented. I never knew about all the behind-the-scenes praying you must have done to keep your sanity, but I know now why you were either reading your scriptures or on your knees whenever I barged into your room at bedtime, why you cling so mightily to wise words and funny moments, and I am honored that you now turn to your own children for advice and a listening ear, even when, to us, you seem to have all your ducks in a row just fine. You've never claimed or given any indication that you think you're perfect, but to me, you are, and I'm so happy that I get to have you as my friend forever.
Your Grandma D is quite a woman. She has raised me to be strong for you. She definitely taught me to be better than I am, but luckily, life is a process and God very mercifully gives us a little time to work out our kinks. I have a lot of kinks, but you don't seem to mind. The one thing I've got in spades (besides kinks) is an undying affection for you. I see little fun parts of your personality coming out, and I see some parts of my own personality that I can only assume will drive me as crazy as I drove Grandma D for so many years. But watching you watch me prompts me to be doing the things that are best, not just "good", because no one can ever expect someone to "do as I say, not as I do." Thank you for keeping me on my toes and for being so easy to love, you sassy little vixen.
Mother's Day 2009. Three months post-partum. Notice bags under eyes (both sets).
Mother's Day 2010. Main differences: we both have more hair (thank you, pregnancy hormones), her head is bigger but hair accessories are smaller, and lactating breasts turned into pregnancy rack. That necklace is following its path just like a river meandering through unmovable mountains...
Dear Undercooked Son,
I apologize in advance. But I promise I'll do my best.