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Sunday, May 10, 2009

You Should Have Been There

You should have been there this morning when the oldest woke up ten minutes before my alarm went off. He opened my door and whispered, "Mommy? Can I make some breakfast?" And I nodded groggily and said, "Ten minutes. I'll be up in ten minutes," exhausted because I was up late last night watching Top Chef.

You should have been there this morning when, ten minutes later, I got up, pulled my hair into a messy ponytail, and walked into the kitchen. On the counter was the bedtray, with the oldest's version of the ultimate breakfast on it: an enormous bowl of Cinni-Mini Crunch with milk to the rim, two waffles swimming in a bowl of syrup, two more waffles lying on the tray beside it, a large glass of milk.

You should have been there this morning when the oldest announced proudly he had done it all himself, that it was breakfast for both of us, we two who get up before anyone else in the house. So I carried the tray to the den, and we sat next to each other on the blue love seat, eating our waffles and watching cartoons.

You should have been there this morning when, breakfast finished, the oldest asked me to tell him about the bedtray again, which story he has heard roughly a hundred times. But I told it again, about how when I was only 23 weeks pregnant with him, I went into labor a full four months too soon, how I was confined to bed with a medication pump attached to my leg and a contraction monitor, how I spent ten weeks in and out of the hospital trying to hold onto him, how he came seven weeks early anyway. And the bedtray was a gift from my mother, who felt helpless and useless watching all of this, because, even at 27 years old, I was still Her Baby. So she bought me this pretty bedtray she found in a strange little jumble shop, and she gave it to me, and I loved it and still do.

You should have been there this morning when, the story told, the oldest was silent for a minute, then said, "I miss her, too." And I had to catch my breath so I wouldn't tear up, because this time of year, the person I miss most of all is my mother, my amazing mother, and I cannot believe she will have been gone four years already the 29th of this month. So I hug my son and tell him to go brush his teeth, and then I slowly stand up and begin to take the dirty dishes from the bedtray.

written December 2006

Happy Mother's Day to those with fabulous mothers, to those who are fabulous mothers, and to everyone in between.
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