A Day for Mothers

Exercise: “Breaking the Sound Barrier”
Prompt: Tell about a recent holiday. Include three subtle typos.

Mother’s Day is a complex holiday for me and for my children.

For me, it carries the weight of all the voices I would like to hear, the missing ones, the empty places. For my children, each year with us grows easier but Shari is Mom and also not-Mom, and Mom-our-other-Mom carries a whole different set of associations we do not like to encounter, and so now how do we feel about a whole day to think of her?

Last year, Mother’s Day projects at school led one of my new children to what he called “a little breakdown” emotionally, and the making of double craft projects, one for her, which she never won the opportunity to see (but it helped him), and one for me. Such wise children, bless them. This year, they say it is easy. They say that, and melt down. But not like last year.

This year my new nine-year-old creates a book for me at school, and presents it with a real smile. ABOUT MY MOM. She is five foot one, and weighs 102 pounds. (How much do you weigh, Mommy? Never you mind, dumpling.) Her favorite activities are sleeping and getting ice cream with me. Her favorite TV show is Sponge Bob. (Are you joking right now? Our teacher said to guess if we didn’t know.) My mom is beautiful when—all the time. (Oh buddy, that is my favorite page. Thank you.)

My children bought me gorgeous perennials with the help of their dad, one each, and here we are in all our glory early in the morning, where several things become immediately obvious.

  1. This is not a great photo. In fact I really dislike this photo, but also it is exactly true of us in that moment. Which I do like.
  2. My older teens are sleeping, like normal humans do in the early hours (the rest of you take note), one of whom is sick for the weekend so I will get no photos with him at all.
  3. I am standing awkwardly in the midst, in a strange moment of fearing to favor one child by placing my hand on them. Just not up for the jealousy this early.
  4. My youngest daughter, who is unsettled by holidays of any kind, is heading into her worst tantrum in months, which will last from now in her PJ’s all the way through worship time at church. And yes, I will cry after it is over, and I will feel like a terrible parent. Because of course it is my fault. Of course. If I were Karyn Purvis this wouldn’t have happened.
  5. Last but not least, the Mother in this Mother’s Day is just trying to get through her Sunday morning. Look at those eyes.


This is us.

My son who was sick had a special outing with me the next day, when he was briefly well enough, and we bought iced coffees and the seventh perenial, because HELLO you may have been SICK on Mother’s Day weekend but you are still part of this FAMILY. The plant went missing. Honest to Pete. I have seen no trace of it since, except for the fact that hanging on top of it was a sprig from another plant, chopped somehow and draped atop, and so I stuck that in the soil and it took, and grew, and there it is still. So I know this experience was real. But the actual plant we bought, the potted plant, is gone without a trace, as are the iced coffees. How does this happen? If we find it, I will tell you. But it is probably keeping old memories company, and may they all rest in piece.

Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Look at me making all these words, unexpectedly. Parenting is grueling, joyful, endless work that wrings the heart and wakes the soul. There is nothing else in the world I would rather do.

On Mother’s Day, I honor my mother and mother-in=law, who survived their great endeavor. I honor the birthmother of three of my children. I honor all the brave women of this world who spend their days loving those who may not yet know how to love back. They will. They do. Wait for it.

Did you find all three? Is there a fouth I sould know about?

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20 days ago

I didn’t even try to find the typos because I just loved this real expression of life – wholesome and broken, precious and hard, grace filled and with many hard knocks. Blessings to you and your brood.

20 days ago

Ah! The picture! In which we see ALL her children’s faces. I love what that means. And you.

Ruth Anna
20 days ago

“If I was Karyn Purvis, this wouldn’t have happened.” 😅😅 Why does that make me smile?
Peace to you in the mothering of them all!

Tabitha Schmidt
20 days ago

I found them all, though I had to go back and look for them. The first time I was too taken up in your writing, as usual. I especially like the 4th one!
I love the update from you and your family!

Danette Martin
20 days ago

Yes, you sould! And your other three weren’t even so suttle. (ever notice how hard it is to try making a typo on our modern devices without correctional consequences?) But, how I loved this piece. You may write here way more often, and I certainly wouldn’t mind.

20 days ago

Thank you, especially for the last four sentences of the last paragraph. They give me hope.

20 days ago
Reply to  Anonymous


20 days ago

I think I found all three and possibly a fourth. I enjoy your blog posts and I’m inspired to try and post more on my own blog.

20 days ago

I enjoy your writing!!

Esther Smith
20 days ago

I love this ❤️
I found all three typos without trying…. plus two more. 🙃

20 days ago

Oh, thank you for writing this beautiful piece. As a stepmother I felt this deeply. Your words brought hope and encouragement!

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