As I started the car one winter morning, the digital clock came to life to confirm what I was feeling. I should have been in bed with Z's dancing over my head. But instead, I was heading bleary-eyed to a 24 hour pharmacy at 4:30 a.m. I needed Motrin for my 10-year-old who woke up inconsolable due to the pain of an ear infection. I couldn't bear to see him in such pain, so the middle-of-the-night trip was my only hope to ease it.
I wondered what the roads would look like at such an un-Godly hour. Pretty empty, I discovered. Although I found myself wondering about the other one or two motorists that I did encounter, and what could be the reason for their early-hour excursion.
As I made my way from the parking lot into the pharmacy, I was keenly aware of the police car patrolling across the street. Suddenly I felt a little better about my solo outing at such a creepy hour. Making my way to the medicine aisle, I noticed another woman with whom I shared a similar sense of nocturnal style: Messy un-brushed hair, no makeup, and baggy clothes. Was she there buying medicine for her child too? I didn't ask the question, but I couldn't help but wonder if it were motherly concern that brought her to the same place at the same time.
When I arrived home, my husband was still sound asleep in bed (how nice for him) and my son was patiently waiting for me on the couch. After medicating, we both fell asleep sitting up on the couch, my son wrapped in my arms. I admit it felt good that my son, who had recently hit double-digits, was still in need of some old-fashioned tender, loving care from his mom.
I think women are designed by nature to be caring and nurturing humans. And there is no job more emotional and more important than caring for, and nurturing, our offspring. In addition to providing clothing, food, shelter and guidance, moms do their best to keep their kids well and safe. We also sacrifice time and money to help them reach their goals. And in the process, we, and our money, are usually taken for granted. Indeed, mothering is often times a thankless job. And a never-ending one at that.
My 8th-grader is running for student council. Twice this week I've been asked to make nighttime jaunts to the store for campaign supplies. So after working all day, cooking dinner, cleaning the kitchen, running to the store and searching for the must-have, nowhere-to-be-found peace-sign tattoos for campaign giveaways, I got to stay up all night designing and printing campaign stickers. The next morning my ever-so appreciative daughter asked, "Why'd you make the stickers with red font?" Well, that would be because after running out to get a pink printer cartridge the night before, I was not running out again after discovering that we were also out of blue ink. Red hues only. Take it or leave it.
To be fair, my daughter was, indeed, grateful. And both kids have good manners and use the words "please" and "thank you." But when you are constantly doing and giving, it's easy to get caught up in that I'm-taken-for-granted feeling. This is ever so apparent when it comes to the Mom-Taxi with the constant rides to band, choir, skating, painting, drum lessons, baseball, and basketball; many miles are logged on the car, and on the mom.
But we still plug away doing, driving, caring, and giving. We don't ask for anything in return, not even gratitude, because we are moms. This is what we signed on for. And for me, the realization that my kids still need me is usually thanks enough. Admittedly, though, my hope is that one day when the kids have grown they will remember the little things and embrace a new-found appreciation for them - and for mom.