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Bad clothes can't cover up good hearts

This day is mine.

Every Mothers' Day, children around the globe let mom sleep in. My children allow me a little Sunday morning, Mothers' Day peace by loudly shushing one another, which inevitably leads to yelling, even screeching, "Be quiet! Mama is still sleeping," answered by, "You can't tell me what to do. Only Mama can tell me what to do. Maaaamaaaaaaaah!"

A whole wrestling match, with kids trash talking like WWF contestants, often transpires right outside my bedroom door. Older children lob physical threats at younger children, who seek to put an end to it all by twisting the doorknob and entering the sacred den of a mother at rest on her special day.

Tranquility and harmony are mine.

Eventually my cherubs scatter down the stairs to the kitchen where they prepare for me sumptuous victuals such as rejected black Easter basket jellybeans, rubberized scrambled eggs, soggy cereal, milky orange juice, and coffee thick with pulp-like grounds mixed in. A good sport, I snarf everything down, with enthusiasm, and ask for seconds, commending them on their culinary talents. For the sake of the day, I force myself to avoid giving thought to the state of the counters and stove.

Good taste and gourmet cuisine are mine.

Then the children lavish me with gifts. Not much guidance goes into the bought items, since, according to my husband, I'm not his mother. Despite wanting to debate that, I hold my tongue in the presence of the children. And I do genuinely love the fuzzy purple socks, with stripes on each individual toe, so thoughtfully selected to coordinate with my yellow linen skirt.

Couture ensembles are mine.

It's when I open the homemade presents that my little brood squeals with glee, egged on by their father, who coaches, "Okay. Time to watch Mama cry."

And every year I do. I sob over the artwork and the poems assuring me that grimy handprints will soon disappear from my furniture and walls.

My husband thinks it's the silly poems that get me. But really, it's the message between the lines, "Soon you will see your refrigerator again." I don't know if my refrigerator, held together with magnets plastering the artifacts of childhood to its sides, can still stand on its own, and I doubt I like the color anymore.

Fine art and classic poetry are mine.

Finally, they dress themselves for church without my input. Their father herds them into their rooms, waves his hands and says, "We're in a hurry, now. Find something and put it on." Everyone obliges.

Then, with nothing short of a dagger, they pin a gargantuan corsage made of lilies and baby's breath to my silk blouse and escort me to the car. I proudly enter the sanctuary flanked by a boy wearing baseball pants and cleats, a daughter donning three pig-tails, a pair of mud stained, faded, red leggings and a chocolate ice-cream spotted top, and another boy wearing green plaid shorts, an orange striped shirt, and tennis shoes that transform into skates with the press of a button. My oldest child, who has developed some sophistication and style, studs about in pants with no knees and a shirt full of holes.

A posse of supermodels and debonair gents is mine.

And it is on the tackiest day of the calendar year that I learn to overlook the imperfections, shortcomings, and bad judgments of my family, and see clear through to their golden hearts and bask in the love they shower upon me.

Treasures upon treasures and wealth beyond understanding are mine.

Web posted on Thursday, May 10, 2007

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