I love having friends come over to our house. The problem is that I am not the greatest housekeeper. In other words, I would rather do a million other things than tidy up. When I set out to clean the house, my brain thinks of a lot of other things I should be doing. More fun things. As a matter of fact, when the house is a disaster, I tend to escape. Go somewhere else. Everybody out….we are going to the park! Maybe it will magically clean itself while we are gone. This hasn’t happened. Yet.

The little rascals running around don’t help much. They like to get every single toy out of the room that I just got finished picking up. Or they spill drinks on the clean kitchen floor. How rewarding, that lasted all of two minutes. Ahhhh! Why can’t they just sit still and not play with anything for a few hours? Doesn’t seem like too much to ask of two six-year olds and a three-year old. All boys. My mom offered to come help me out. She knows this routine, having had seven children of her own to destroy the house on a daily basis growing up. And now she has close to a bazillion grandkids. When we were young, my mom used to have us all pick up one hundred things. Yep. That’s 700 things. I usually cheated. I think the rest of my brothers and sisters did too. Come to think of it, maybe I’m being punished for all of those times I dumped the unsorted sock basket over and then (re)picked them up, counting all of the sock misfits as my “hundred.” 1-2…skip a few, 99-100.

“Hello. Is this Amelia? It’s Karma calling.”

Leave me a message, please. I’m too busy trying to clean up my house.

I asked my mom if she would take my boys out for lunch. That way I could focus on getting the floors cleaned. My boys always harass me while vacuuming, by either asking constantly, “Mom, when are our friends coming? What time will they get here? Who is coming? Do they have kids? What are their names?” Or they love to play this painfully annoying (but kind of fun)game where they all try to “battle” the vacuum. They use their swords, legs, Nerf guns, and whatever else to attack the vacuum. With the dog barking, trying to bite it with his scraggly teeth and the three boys going ape-shit, it’s just too much. These factors are the sole reason my boys rarely see me get out the vacuum and when I do, they automatically say, “Who’s coming over?” Sad truth.

My mom arrived to our house in the midst of me filling my hummingbird feeders with homemade sugar water. Another attention-deficit cleaning up trait I possess is that I tend to hyper focus on things that guests will surely never notice. “Oh, you have a hummingbird feeder…I hardly noticed the urine all over your bathroom wall.” I asked my mom where she thought I should hang the hummingbird feeders. Then, I realized something as I walked around the backyard with my mom, trying to find the best spot for the hummingbirds to hang out while sipping on their sweet life juice. The older I get, the more I become like my mother, in a lot of ways. My siblings and I have always poked fun at my mom’s passion for taking care of the birds. Often times, she asks one of us to water her plants and feed her birds when she is out-of-town. I can’t sew to save my life. Stapling is how I hem pants. I can’t cook like my mom. I can’t keep plants alive, especially the pretty non-weed like plants. But, I have grown to love playing hostess to the birds coming to eat at our house. They are gracious guests. Always hanging outside, not ever staying too long. I got to thinking how my boys would fit in really well as hummingbirds, if they ever needed to change species. They have psychotic amounts of energy, they are constantly moving and they absolutely would love a diet that consisted of sugar-water. A dream come true. They would fly away and never look back.

My mom helped me hang my hummingbird feeder while talking on the phone to the nurse who cares for my grandmother. She then loaded my three boys in her car to take them to eat lunch and go to the bookstore. Master multi-tasker. No one can do what she does with a smile on her face and that pep in her step. Grace oozes out of her and we all sneak up next to her, in hopes that it would somehow rub off on all of us.

I had the whole house to myself. I started vacuuming the floors and the tears moved to their starting blocks. No boys attacking the vacuum. No dog barking incessantly. Just me and that vacuum, that appeared to not be sucking anything up. The filter! Yuck fest.  I started crying. Just feeling completely humbled and overwhelmed with gratitude that slid down my face in the shape of happy tear drops. I just love my mom. I’m not quite sure what I did to deserve such an unselfish, generous, and loving woman. For my mom. Why would I not hope to be like this woman? To this day, I have adult friends who meet my mom and tell me how awesome she is. And it’s true. Her face and name should be in the dictionary under “mom.” She’s that good. She mothers the world. Her own children, her grandchildren, the mothers in the grocery store, the children in the hospital, the frogs, birds, opossums, rabbits and creatures that come to her yard. Every child deserves a mother like her. And if every child had a mother like her, the world would be a more loving and joy-filled place.

So, I’m a little excited now. A lot. I can’t stop staring out my kitchen window.  I just cannot wait for my first hummingbird to come. And when that spunky little bird comes whizzing up to my feeder, I will remember the strong sensitive woman who taught me to love on and nurture the beautiful tiny creatures that God has so graciously put on this earth. With us. I will also probably say, “Hurry, boys! Come quick! There’s a hummingbird at our feeder.” And I will quickly kneel down, put my arm around them, pointing to the feeder, touch their hair and hopefully remember the moment until I die. I will be forever grateful of a mother who loves everyone, and every creature, in the way that God intended. Unconditionally. Generously. Selflessly. Beautifully. In an exhausting and whole-hearted way. I love you, Mom.

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