May 7, 2010
Treasures Abound In A Mother's Day
IconTREASURES ABOUND IN A MOTHER#146;S DAY by Dayle Allen Shockley When my daughter was born, I left my job to become a full-time mother. There were those who cheered and those who jeered. But regardless of which side of the fence my peers were on, the most frequent question I heard was: Don't you get bored? That question always puzzled me. What did they picture me doing most of the day? Sleeping? Staring into space? Watching the grass grow? If there is one thing mothering is not, it is boring. Certainly, there are times of frustration when you long for nothing more than a month of solitude or a week of socializing, but even if the offer came, few mothers would accept it. They know, as I do, that to do so would mean they would miss something of great value. For even the most ordinary day in a mother's life holds unexpected treasures #150; moments that are beyond price. I am sure you have favorite memories. One of my most cherished days as a mother occurred in 1993. It had been a stressful week. Everywhere I turned, hands were out, begging for more of my time or money or both. I did what I could, often without a simple thank you. That only left me feeling used and unappreciated. What had happened to good manners? It was while I drove home from church that I mulled these things over. Anna, then 7, sat beside me, pretty as a picture in her flowered dress and white patent shoes. Chestnut curls gathered at the crown of her head and dangled in soft coils above her neck. My heart ached as I studied her sweet profile. The last few days had found me working feverishly on projects for the ungrateful crowd, which often resulted in my being a disagreeable mother. More times than not, my daughter's requests had been answered with things like, "Just a minute." "I#146;m busy." "Please, don't bother me now." Yet there she sat without complaint, holding no grudges. Not me. Today, I was full of complaints, and I resented those who robbed me of my time and expertise with no mention of appreciation. Anna seemed to sense my mood and remained quiet on the drive home. As we rolled into the driveway, she said, "Since Daddy is at work, we can just have our own private time, can't we, Mama?" I wasn't sure what she meant, but it sounded good to me. "That will be great, baby. You can help Mama fix lunch, and then we can have our own private time." Through the course of preparing lunch, however, I forgot about her unusual offer. Now, I sat in my office, still brooding like a spoiled brat. In a minute, Anna joined me, settling into the wing-back chair beside my desk. She smoothed down her dress and crossed her legs. Suddenly, I remembered the "private" time and wondered if this were an indication that it had begun. I smiled at her, saying nothing. "Mama," she began, "I just want to tell you how good it is to have you and Daddy." I sat up straight. She didn't wait for my response. "You and Daddy do so much for me, Mama. You buy me clothes and give me food," she said, without hesitating. "You take me to a Christian school and buy me toys. And... I have a nice chair like this to sit in," she said, patting the arms of the chair. I noticed her lips began quivering. "You just do so much for me, Mama." Suddenly, she bolted from the chair and flung herself into my arms. For a long while, we just held onto each other, sobbing. It felt as if my heart would burst. Finally, she pulled away. "I just wanted to say thank you, Mama. Thank you so much." I can't express all of the varied emotions that welled up inside of me. There was joy at the fact that, even with all of my blunders, I must have done something right as a mother. There was grief, recalling the many times during the week that I had ignored my precious daughter's simple wishes, while rushing to satisfy the complex requests of virtual strangers. But perhaps more than anything, there was an intense gratitude that God had blessed me with the notable title: mother. Looking into the face of my child, I couldn't think of a single thing that I would rather be. This article first appeared under a different title in The Dallas Morning News. Permission granted for use on Dayle Allen Shockley is an author whose work has appeared in dozens of publications. Her editorials and essays are regular features in The Dallas Morning News and online at Jewish World Review and . Dayle lives with her family in Texas, and is a writing instructor at North Harris College in Houston. Contact her at .

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