By Wendy Anne Clark
“If you bungle raising your children,
I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.”
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
Over the past few days one of my daughters has been asking me what I want for Mother’s Day. What do I want? When the girls were little, the gifts were things like fingerprints on paper plates or clever creations made from Popsicle sticks. Just the other day, I received a decorated potholder from my five year old. But now that my two older daughters are teenagers, they want to get serious about their gifts. That’s nice, but what do I want?
I’ve been feeling a bit yucky for a day or so, but we have an algebra class that meets at our house in the afternoon. The girls offered to get the house cleaned up, and I’ve been lying on my bed, listening to the three of them working side-by-side in the other room. They are singing to a song on the radio, “This is my temporary home, not where I belong . . . “ and laughing and joking as they work together. My oldest has been coaxing my youngest into picking up her “Pollys,” and I just heard her say, “Good job! High five!”
I know the cleaning won’t be perfect. I will probably straighten a little more, wipe down a counter or two, do one more sweep around the kitchen island. I know my girls aren’t perfect and won’t always get along the way they are getting along right now.
But one thing is clear–though I haven’t taught them everything they need to know, they have learned how to clean up a room, how to work together, and how to encourage and praise each other.
And I just got what I really want for Mother’s Day.