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And That's Why We Do It

Yesterday the girls and I played at the pool all morning with friends, bringing a picnic lunch to prolong the fun. After we got home I hustled the girls into dry clothes and ran a few errands with them before heading back home to get Maddie dressed for ballet. As I scurried both girls out the door, rushing to avoid being late, I handed Cora a bag I’d packed for her with fun stuff to do while Maddie took class: markers, coloring books, and the like.

“Here, can you please carry your bag? I put water and a snack in it,” I said briefly as I struggled into my shoes.

Cora looked up at me and smiled, slinging the bag on her shoulder. “You are such a great mom,” she said, stuffing her feet into her clogs.

I almost started crying.

“Oh, baby, thank you so much!” I exclaimed, sweeping her into a hug that she quickly snuggled down into. “What made you say that?”

She shrugged and smiled shyly. “You just do so much to let us have a really great time all the time. Like taking me to Target to get a new snorkel mask of my own (bless her heart, she thought running that errand was fun) and packing me a bag full of fun stuff to do (while I make her sit at a ballet studio for an hour and wait for her sister). You’re just always helping us do fun stuff and packing us snacks and stuff. You do a really go job being a mom.”

May I remind you she is five?

This, I say unnecessarily, made my day. These are the moments I dream about as a mother: those exhausted moments when I selfishly crave accolades, longing for the time my children will look around and say, “Wow, gosh, mother, I can’t believe how hard you work for us! Thank you for all the nutritious meals and clean clothes and arranged play dates and dry towels and clean water cups. You are amazing and work so hard for our comfort.”

We know, as we work, that our children will never do this. And it’s not their jobs to do so. The best we can hope for is that our child will grow to adulthood, have kids of her own, and call us, weeping with gratitude over how hard she now knows we worked. As much as I daydream about being recognized for what I do, right there in the midst of it, I know how unrealistic that is.

Or, apparently, not. So to grown-up Cora who is just now reading this, thank you, baby. You made me feel quite special today.


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