Welcome, Dear Reader, to the day that never was. The day was perfect in every way. A gentle morning breeze flowing through the opened bedroom window carried with it the sound of a pair of gray morning doves cooing on the ground below. Cool air mixing with the warm sound of the doves caused the single occupant of the bed to stir.
Eyes slowly flickered open, first noticing the sunrise streaming in the windows then the bedside clock. The mother of five couldn’t remember the last time she had slept so long without interruption. Bare feet quickly hit cold wood floors, then she padded to the closet, pulling on a new night coat, a gift from her loving husband of twenty years, before turning towards the kitchen.
The clock read 8:20 a.m., well past time to make breakfast for her boys. She was surprised they weren’t already complaining that they were “starving.” The teenager was old enough she could find for herself. According to her, she was grown. She chuckled at the thought, and then walked into the kitchen to start breakfast. After all, even though it was Mothers Day, the work of a mother never stops. Or does it?
Making her way to the coffee maker, she switched it on, slipped a cup under before noticing her two youngest. They were already up, dressed, hair done, and playing without fighting – a rare, if ever, occurrence for the twin boys.
Watching them play, she smiled as her first sip of coffee brought with it warmth radiating from deep inside. She loved every moment about being a mom … especially mornings like this. But a moment of peace would be all she could hope for, soon the fighting would start and hungry mouths had to be fed.
Another sip of coffee and she asked, “Boys, what would you like for breakfast?” The answer she received was unexpected – it didn’t come from them.
Walking into the kitchen, the teenager made her way to the refrigerator, retrieved eggs and bacon, then started cooking breakfast. “I fed them already,” she said. “How would you like you eggs cooked?”
Stunned, the mom sat down at the table and looked around the room again while sipping her coffee. The floor had been swept without someone being asked. The twins were clothed and fed, and she hadn’t had to do it. It was summer, and her daughter was up before 10 and offering to cook her breakfast. Was she dreaming?
She rose replying somewhat bewilderedly, “Sunny side up.” Giving her daughter a kiss, she walked towards the laundry room. The huge pile of dirty clothes on the floor from the past week wasn’t going to wash it self. Or was it?
The last load of laundry was already tumbling in the dryer and the rest was neatly folded on the table next to it. Mom slowly walked back to her coffee, drained the cup and then asked, “You did the laundry? All the laundry?”
Her daughter slid two perfect sunny side up eggs onto a plate, along with bacon and a homemade biscuit. Placing the plate down in front of her mom, the teenager answered, “You shouldn’t have to cook or do laundry, and I’ll take care of the kids. It’s Mother’s Day. I’ve got this.”
The mom pinched herself to make sure she wasn’t still sleeping. And as she did, her perfect breakfast began to slowly fade away.
A gentle morning breeze flowing through the opened bedroom window carried with it the sound of a pair of gray morning doves cooing on the ground below. But cool air mixing with the warm sound of the doves wasn’t what caused the single occupant of the bed to stir. It was her twin boys that now were climbing under the covers to be with her.
“Wake up — Happy Mothers Day,” they giggled as they handed her their homemade card. Hugs and kisses were exchanged, and after ten minutes of snuggling the two rolled off the bed and scampered into the living room to play with their two older brothers. Now 7:05, it was well past time to make everyone breakfast. Our Mom’s bare feet quickly hit cold wood floors, then she padded to the closet pulling on a new night coat, a gift from Dad, before turning towards the kitchen.
“No, it’s not. You played with it first yesterday.”
“Nuh-uh. It’s not fair!”
The first argument of the morning was already erupting from the living room. They must be hungry, she thought. Retrieving boxes of cereal from the pantry, she noticed the week’s worth of dirty clothes still on the laundry room floor, and the door to her teenager’s bedroom still closed.
Returning to the kitchen, she quickly fixed breakfast for her kids and, while they ate, sipped her first cup of coffee. To her surprise, the teenager came out of her room, gave her a hug and said, “Happy Mother’s Day. Love you.”
Then she started a load of laundry before grabbing a breakfast bar and disappearing back into her room. Finally finishing her coffee, the mom cleared the table as the sound of another argument starting floated up from the living room. A day without any arguments, or laundry, would be a day that never was.
She smiled at the thought and looked again at her homemade card – seven multi-colored stick figures holding hands in front of their house. A house full of love located on an old familiar street not so far away called Flamingo. To her, this day was simply perfect.
My mom said being a mom was the hardest job she ever had … and the most rewarding. I’ll always be thankful for all the love and kindness she gave to us five kids. She took the sharp edges off the world for us and without her I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
For all the mothers out there, thank you for all the caring and love you give to this world. It makes a difference. It certainly made a difference in me.
[Rick Ryckeley has been writing stories since 2001. To read more of Rick’s stories, visit his blog: storiesbyrick.wordpress.com.]