By Laura Simon

When I was old enough to know better, I spent the better part of a week picking at a tiny bump in the drywall next to the toilet in my bathroom. It really was tiny, but it bothered me. I wanted it to be smooth like the rest of the wall. By the time my mom went to give the toilet it’s weekly cleaning, I had removed a sizeable chunk of the drywall. Even today, I remember my mom’s horrified reaction – and my own surprise that she was so upset. I mean, it’s just a hole in the wall, right?

From age ten until I graduated from high school, I ate an average of four bowls of cereal a day. Not once during those eight years did I actually heed my mother’s expectation that I would rinse my bowl before placing it in the sink. For EIGHT YEARS, she came downstairs and found Cheerios drying on the porcelain…again. And she let me live!

I chose a sport – swimming – with meets that took three whole days. My mom spent her Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays sitting in a boiling pool area, inhaling chlorine, and waiting for her daughter to swim a handful of thirty-second events. I refused to even sit with her, preferring to hang out with my friends on the pool deck who were willing to share one-half of their Walkman headphones with me.

I also refused to actually clean out my pool bag, preferring to leave it parked in the middle of the guest bathroom floor, filled with mildewing towels and swimsuits halfway strewn over the side. My mom got creative with that one and purchased large, fake bugs that she placed at intervals around and inside the bag. I nearly had a heart attack before I realized they were fake, and I cleaned up my act… for almost a week.

Friends, this is why we have Mother’s Day.

We love to celebrate achievements: a birthday, a graduation, or a new job. But motherhood isn’t a single achievement. Motherhood is a seemingly endless series of mundane sacrifices that (hopefully) culminate in the successful raising of a child.

When we celebrate Mother’s Day, we’re honoring each and every time a mama has to cut her precious angel’s toenails. Each and every smelly poo that spreads beyond the confines of the diaper. Each and every time a mama attempts to sleep in a too-small bed with a toddler who is afraid of the rain pounding against the window.

No one swoops down and hands you a trophy for crawling around on the bedroom floor in the dark, feeling blindly for the pacifier that a ten-month-old has thrown out of the crib for the 14th time in a single night.

And unfortunately, angels don’t sing when your toddler agrees to brush all of his teeth, even the ones in the back that no one sees.

Sadly, no one documents when you manage to have a meaningful conversation with the teenager who’s been sullen and grumpy since the age of 11.

We have Mother’s Day for that.

It’s for every mama who has read Goodnight Moon every night for two years, shuddered through pinworms and lice outbreaks, and watched with horror as a stomach virus sweeps through the house, while realizing who’s probably next.

Mother’s Day is a chance to acknowledge what is generally unseen. It’s a day that celebrates the way our ordinary becomes extraordinary.

Whether you’re firmly entrenched in the diaper years or taking deep breaths through the teens, I sincerely hope that this Mother’s Day brings simple acknowledgement that all those seemingly insignificant moments are important. Each and every one of them. Rock on, Mama.

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