When us kids would ask my mom what she wanted for her birthday or Christmas or Mother's Day, she'd always say, "All I want for (insert special occasion here) is a clean house and a happy family."
I never liked that answer.
For at least a week leading up to those occasions you'd hear her wishing for her clean house and happy family as she'd lovingly wipe our tears, solve our qualms, and clean our messes. It was such a subjective and open-ended request, and as a child, I just never quite knew how to go about making it happen in a packaged gift form. I'm sure I tried to keep things tidy and tried to be happy and keep everyone else happy, but I always felt and wanted to give her more than that.
Sadly, I don't think we ever exactly gave her a clean house and a happy family for an entire day, which is probably why it was an ongoing wish. I thought she should be asking for more traditional and wrappable things like perfume or a candle. (I think my mom has recieved enough candles over the years to open up a candle store.) I thought that surely those were the things she really wanted. "A clean house and a happy family" was just one of those lines mother's are trained to say, I thought. I mean, really, who wants that for their birthday?
Fast forward a double decade to the married mother I am, and I'm thinking, "ME! I want that!"
I would love to wake up on my special day, hop out of bed and watch my daughter make her bed and then my bed, since I rarely get to that. Next, I'd glide down the stairs to my sparkling clean kitchen and eat a peaceful breakfast, everyone around me completely content. Not a whine for miles. I'd sit there and read a favorite book, unneeded and uninterrupted. There are no cheerios on the floor; the bathrooms are squeeky clean; there's not a toy in sight.
Yes, that sounds awfully nice. Not that my house is never clean or that my family is never happy. We're plenty happy and clean enough, but to have an entire day of perfectly clean house and happy family--that's a blissful and invaluable gift, indeed.
I finally get it, Mom!
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