If I had my druthers, I'd spend my Mother's Day digging in the dirt while my beautifully behaved kids played in the grass around me. I'd have a marvelous meal cooked by someone who isn't me and who wants to wash all the dishes. And the whole world would chew with their mouths closed.
Oh, so not my life. I've got a little too much chaos for that.
I settled for bribing my kids to let me sleep in. I promised them as much TV, video game and computer time as they could manage. Which meant I had a great sleep, with only six interruptions between 6:30 and 10:30 a.m.: two Aspie tantrums, one set of fighting siblings, two beautiful handmade gifts, and one breakfast in bed comprising American cheese, a Nutella sandwich and a very, very tall cup of strawberry chocolate milk.
I got up and made a big brunch. Then I broke my own cardinal rule of Mother's Day and washed the dishes.
I brokered 37 arguments, including some with other kids in the neighborhood. I put everyone in time out at least once. I shushed the very loud and annoying barking dog. I bandaged a scraped knee and kissed away some tears. I brokered 15 more arguments and shushed the barking dog again and finally gave up and hauled everyone outside just in time to join a neighborhood walk. Which was great fun, with two dogs and three grown-ups and a passel of kids racing around on various wheeled things, until they hit a particularly steep and curvy hill, where two of mine wiped out, the redhead dangerously so, scraping his left leg from his ankle to his backside, complete with ground-in dirt. I wound up piggybacking my screaming redhead all the way home, holding my dog by the leash, consoling Peabo (my other wipee) with words. Which really doesn't work so well.
My sister arrived as we rounded the corner home.
I have two sisters. This is the one nearest me in age, hair color and height. She hasn't got kids, and my kind of chaos stresses me out, so I can only imagine what it does to her.
And yet, she consoled and played with my diva while I put my redhead into a tub and cleaned off his scraped leg - and if you've ever inflicted that kind of pain on your child, knowing it was what you had to do and knowing you were hurting him badly, you know what that felt like. He wasn't crying alone.
We left the bathroom shaking and sobbing. While I dried him off and bandaged his leg, my sister blew up balloons and sent them whizzing through the air. She made my redhead laugh - actually laugh, after all that - by pointing out that it sounded like a fart. And doing it again. And again.
Then she went downstairs and found a leak in my pipes and a half inch of water in the back of my basement that I wouldn't have discovered until 2012.
She also cleaned it all up.
When I said, "I give up, let's go get pizza," she said, "Yes, let's!" even though she had pizza yesterday.
She let Peabo poke her all the way through dinner. She answered the eternal question, "Do you like waffles?" about 93 times. She listened to my diva's fabulous Mother's Day story that lasted through three car rides and an entire meal. She laughed at the redhead's jokes, and made him laugh right back.
And at the end of the day, she told me she had fun. Despite the screaming and the crying and the barking, and the stressed out, exhausted kids, and the stressed-out and moderately well-rested mom. She had fun.
I know it's Mother's Day. But I'd never have made it through this one without her. So I'm renaming it Sister's Day in her honor.
Because I'm glad she's my sister. And I don't tell her that nearly enough.