This Sunday, American Moms will be lavished with homemade noodle art, fingerpaintings and clay-pots with a plant we hope not to kill before the 4th of July. I have always loved Mother’s Day. As a little girl I would nearly burst with anticipation to be the first to present my mom with my magnificent work of art that I so carefully created. (Hey, noodles are not always so easy to clue on paper!) We would always bring her breakfast in bed. I could not wait for that part. I would literally knock my brother and sister out of the way to be the first one to get to her. Not because I was eager for the breakfast she always shared (which she always shared!), but because after breakfast, I got to snuggle up beside her and cuddle nap. After we presented her with our amazing art (always oooh’ed and ahhhh’ed over) and breakfast, I would find that cozy niche beside her, lay my head on her chest and fall asleep listening to her heartbeating a rhythm that would lull me to sleep. It was a ritual we enjoyed for years. Even into my tween years. It was our time.
As I grew up, the noodle art stopped. It became cards and flowers or something store bought for her. I became busy and had things to do, so the snuggle naps were abandonned for either my own nap in my own bed or off to my “very important” social life. After leaving for college, it was down to cards and phone calls and a visit when I could get away that weekend. By the time I had my own children, it was more often than not just a phone call and card because the traveling so far for a short weekend with kids was so hard to manage. But always the phone call. Always. We would laugh about the fact that I was now the recipient of the noodle art and plants I hoped not to kill.
Now, it is my daughter who rushes into my room full of giggles and hugs. It is Gabriella who fights to get the primo spot directly beside me. Eager for our very own post breakfast snuggle nap. As I wrap my arms around her and she lays her head on my chest, I always smile. Remembering when it was me in her spot and my Mom’s arms around me. The tradition had passed down to the two of us. When I told my Mom, she would smile that bittersweet smile. Happy that I get to enjoy those moments, but sad that they have passed for her.
I don’t know how I am going to get through Mother’s Day this year. I am sure I will get the fantastic works of noodle art and plants. And, as Mom always did for us, I will oooooh and ahhhh and place them in a prominent position in our family room. For reasons I don’t even remember, when Mom was in the hospital, we actually talked about those early Mother’s Days. We talked about the noodle art and the snuggle naps. She admitted she missed those days. I told her she had to get better because this year, I was going to make her an extra special noodle art gift to enjoy again.
But it is too late. She is gone and that noodle art won’t be given to her on Mother’s Day this year.
Clint won’t be able to be with me this year on Mother’s Day. It will be just me and the kids. So, breakfast in bed will either be made by me (coffee and a bagel please) or made by the older boys (cold cereal and a Diet Coke). I am fine with that. I mean, I am totally not a breakfast person. But I know that breakfast or not, Gabriella will race into my room for our snuggle nap. And as she lays her head on my chest to sleep, I am sure it will be one of the sweetest and hardest moments I have had to endure since Mom died. I am sure I will cry over the memories of the snuggle naps I shared with Mom and the realization those moments are forever gone and that past memories are all I can have of Mom now. And I am sure I will cry over the blessing of having my very own child who lays her head on my chest to snuggle nap with me.
I also know in my heart Mom will be watching, smiling and will be at peace knowing the tradition continues.