Treasure Keeper

May 11, 2019 (and the photo credit goes to my treasure, Paul)

Mother’s Day is the one day of the year when my family is contractually obligated to officially show gratitude for all the little and big things this mutha does to make us look like we’ve got all our shit together, even if we really don’t. Homework and signing permission slips, dirty dishes, driving to PT and softball, sweeping wisteria petals from the deck, washing windows, trash and laundry. I realize the clean laundry has been sitting in the dryer since Monday. There are tons of chores I have to delegate because no one will do them willingly. But then there are chores I love to do and I don’t want anyone else to do them. I love to vacuum and I always have. I love to water all the flower pots because I love seeing the blooms. And I love filling the bird feeders because I can watch the birds right from the leather chair or the sofa.

Not everyone gets to be a mom, and it doesn’t seem fair to me that some of the most generous women I know aren’t called Mom. But I realize that we women in general are maternal even without kids. Don’t we swoon with the quickening of a new relationship or career or service or passion? We labor intensely to show our creations to an awaiting audience. We take it personally when our creations fail. And we grieve when they die because the beauty of our creations defines us in so many intimate ways, and when the creation is gone, part of our existence is gone with it.

The privilege of being a mom carries so much weighty responsibility, and by my own admission I really should not be trusted to fulfill and carry out my commitment. Sometimes the heaviest charge to Mommie privilege is trying to figure out how to carry and where to store up all the emotional abundance my children have given me. I don’t know that my heart is big enough to hold what they pour into me. Oh what a problem to have!

I’ve signed my emails as Treasure Seeker ever since I first had email. My blog site is called Treasure Seeker. When Paul, Grace and I moved to Seattle, the Beals gave us the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou video. The character Pete Hogwallup warns “do not seek the treasure!” I’ve been seeking treasures for years and storing them up in Heaven. But I have to admit, my family is my biggest treasure, and I keep that treasure close to my heart right here on Earth.

My Treasures are so fragile that I’ve seen them shatter under a harsh word. My very own harsh word, in fact. But I’ve also seen them face epic hardships, their tender emotions buttressed with the fierce strength of warrior princesses. And I stood proudly aside knowing that although I couldn’t fight their battles for them, this warrior queen helped build their strongholds. Yes I did.

My Treasures don’t travel solo; they are package deals that take up my time and space and energy, and I take none of it for granted. It’s an honor to be in the dug out with Oh Emily and the softballers helping find their bats and helmets, dispensing pony-tail elastics and giving high 5’s and telling them “you’ll get it next time,” because I really do believe they will get it next time. It humbles me to hear Lauren’s friends call me Momma S or Momma Mauk or Momma Sandie, when I know these kids have incredible mothers of their own, but in this brief moment they honor me with a title that just rolls off their tongues. And it does my heart good to know Grace’s boyfriend has other places he could be and a home where he is loved, yet he likes being here with us. And it’s a good day when I see his car parked out front.

My Treasures leave proof-of-life and make themselves known by mementos and memories, pics and posts, songs and silly sayings, tears and laughter, screams and whispers and silences, twinkling eyes and cold stares, handprints and hand holding. I don’t have to wander far in the house or far back in my mind to find concrete evidence of my immeasurable blessing of three daughters. My neighbor and I call each other Mo3D (Mother of 3 Daughters), but her oldest hasn’t started kindergarten yet. My Grace is in college, Lauren will start high school, and Oh Emily is headed toward middle school with elementary in the rear view. I miss the little girls they were, but I love the young ladies they have grown into. When I consider all Paul and I have been through with our girls, I’m excited for this Mo3D with all she has ahead of her. I remember every tear I’ve cried over these 3, and I wouldn’t wish those tears on anyone else. But there will be tears. Buckets of tears. And she will collect all the tears, remember them, and treasure them because they were cried to balance out all the laughter of those she treasures. And there will be laughter.

If you’ve known us for minute, then you know that we’ve dealt with some of the same things you’ve dealt with. You know about mental illness, self harm and trichotillomania and an attempt, epilepsy, separation, a near fatal accident and cranial surgery, bullying, the captured bat and the series of rabies shots (that was a fun month), another surgery and another, and general stupidity. Just like you…same-same. I’m either the cause of, or genetically related to, or married to all of that. And because of all that, I am always stunned every Mother’s Day weekend when my husband and girls tell me I’m the best mom in the world and that they are so thankful for me. Today began the annual bestowing of gifts with the trip to the Farmer’s Market. I chose hydrangeas, a turtle planter, and a zen meditating frog. Tomorrow there will be more gifts and breakfast in bed. They will give me cards and hugs. It’s been a good year; I deserve some butter cream. They will treat me like I am their treasure, and they won’t even realize the joke is on them. My Treasures treasure me, and I am the Treasure Keeper.

“But Mary treasures up all these things, pondering them in her heart,” Luke 2:19.

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