Tiny Handprints On Furniture And Walls

How was your weekend? I know that Mother’s Day can be fraught with all sorts of emotions and mixed feelings for some people, and if you are one of those, I hope you had some peace over the weekend.

I had some nostalgic, emotional moments when I realized, late Saturday night, that I had not been disallowed from unpacking any backpacks this week. Steph had commented on my Throwing It Back post last week that she remembered when her son no longer brought home Mother’s Day crafts from school, and that comment resurfaced in my brain after I realized that no one had panicked when I opened up backpacks this whole past week. Now, rationally, I know that all things eventually come to an end, and just like it would be very weird to get one of those “Tiny Handprints” poems from a nine-year-old, so too would it be strange to get a Mom-related acrostic poem written on a doily from a teenager. I knew such crafts would no longer come one day, I just didn’t realize that this Mother’s Day would be that day.


It was apparent that my hunch was correct on Sunday morning. Every year for Mother’s Day, my mom and I get pedicures and I go to the garden centre and buy whatever I like and call it my “Mother’s Day gift.” In actuality, I do not want a physical gift on Mother’s Day, just this nice little pedicure-and-plant-buying ritual. But I’ve always had some kind of craft to look at and admire on Mother’s Day, so it did feel a bit strange. I realized that I would never again receive a Mother’s Day craft. Never again is a very powerful concept.

I went to yoga and while I ujjayi breathed, I thought of all the moms in Fort Mac, and how the boys helped me plant the garden the day before, and how everything is wonderful and I really don’t even have room on my dressers for more crafts anyway, since I’ve been displaying most of them since I was given them and things are a little crowded with construction paper. I left the Shala smiling and with renewed perspective.

People, I came home and the boys and my husband had cleaned the entire house. They even scrubbed the baseboards, mopped the downstairs bathroom, and vacuumed the stairs.

Fuck the doily crafts, this was the best Mother’s Day gift ever.

I was completely surprised and frankly, elated. It came to me that motherhood is just one long string of eras, and I am out of the crafting era and into the “acts of service” era and this era is awesome. Not that I didn’t love the preschool teas…


They were adorable. I enjoyed the “spa day” that Jake’s kindergarten teacher had devised, and I wore my bright-pink nail polish with pride, or something…

nailskindy nailskindy2

What I’m saying is I love this new era, I really do. The boys helped my husband make dinner and they all cleaned up and it was kind of a Mother’s Day fantasy come true, to be honest. I used to long for moments by myself, to have a cup of coffee without someone needing help in the bathroom and to make dinner without someone crying in the kitchen, I used to just long for moments where no one was touching me or needing something or talking to me.

And now I have it. I have whole pots of coffee in peace, unless someone desperately needs to know what Reverend Lovejoy’s wife’s name is, or someone wants to expound on their theory that Star Wars could be real, we really don’t know, the universe is so big. No one ever cries when I am trying to get dinner on the table and when the kids get home from school they just hang out and don’t need a thing from me. I’m going to Toronto for YMC-related things tomorrow and it’s really not a big deal. Things will keep on ticking without me; they might be more slightly more complicated, but our little world will keep on turning while I’m gone. I’ll be missed, but not in a oh my god, the universe just imploded kind of way.

I didn’t mean to get all maudlin, but suddenly I understand those irritating old people who would say things like “Enjoy them, it goes so fast” in the grocery store when one kid would be crying in the cart and the other would be pulling things off the shelf. I mean, I’m not going to turn into one of those people because comments like that are in the Top Ten Least Helpful Things To Say To A Mother, but I understand them. And if I went back in time I’d still long for a cup of coffee in peace, I’m sure.


So to all you mamas of little ones out there, you are doing a great job. Keep on keeping on. And to all you mamas of older kids out there, well, I get it now. It actually does go fast and we can’t stop time, so we better enjoy the ride while we are on it. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my very clean house, and pack for my trip tomorrow, and plan to talk about Star Wars and The Simpsons nonstop at the dinner table tonight. xo


  1. The house cleaning sounds like an amazing present!

  2. One thing I like about our kids being almost 10 years apart from oldest to youngest is that these changes are gradual, and the lasts don’t hit me quite as hard. I was OK saying goodbye to preschool after eight years of it.
    We were able to go out for Mother’s Day dinner and it was pleasant! No bibs! No five million bathroom visits! (OK, there were two. But still.) Everyone enjoyed and ate their meals! It was kind of amazing.

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