“What do you really want for Mother’s Day?” my 10-year-old daughter asked on a Sunday morning as I stashed the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher and scrubbed drizzles of caramel off the kitchen counter.
I glanced at the clock, at my ratty pajamas, and at the toddler who had just waddled into the room with a saggy diaper. Church would begin in 90 minutes.
My husband was already at work, and two of my kids were already playing in the yard. Three children still had bed head and morning breath, but the expectancy in Lizzy’s eyes begged for an answer.
“I think I’d just like to take a hot shower today,” I replied with a smile.
My daughter raised an eyebrow at my dull request then shrugged her shoulders. “Well, that should be easy enough.” She grabbed her baby sister and headed for the nursery in search of a clean diaper.
I grabbed my cup of coffee and my Bible and headed to the master bath in hopes of soaking briefly in the Word before I slipped into the shower. I locked the door and perched on top of the closed toilet lid. I had just opened my Bible when my 7-year-old knocked on the door.
“What are you doing in there?” she asked.
“Taking a shower.”
“Well, can you hurry? Josh stepped in dog poop with his church shoes.”
“I’ll be out in a minute,” I assured my middle child. “Just leave your brother’s shoes on the front steps.”
The door knob shook fervently before the next voice hollered.
“Mom, are you on the potty?”
I glanced at my improvised chair. “Yes.”
“Is it stinky?”
I inhaled the aroma of creme brulee coffee beans. “No.”
“Well, what’s taking you so long?” my 4-year-old whined. “I need help finding my green flip flops.”
Before I could answer, my 12-year-old intervened.
“Leave Mom alone," he urged his little brother. "She’s queen today and she’s on the throne!”
I heard a scuffle as my littlest boy was carried away, and I chuckled at my unplanned picture of motherhood: Me, perched on a humble porcelain throne as I attempted to draw near to God. Before I had children, I had no idea how desperate for Jesus motherhood would make me.
I hopped in the shower and was reaching for the shampoo when Lizzy pounded on the door. “Mom! Maggie’s in the yard in her church shoes.”
I pictured the dirty sandals already quarantined to the front steps and decided not to worry about the dog droppings that my toddler might have discovered on her morning walk.
“I’ll be right out,” I hollered as I quickly lathered my sopping hair.
The tattle-tale paused. “Um, Mom … her church shoes are the only things she has on.”
I stuck my head out of the shower and scanned our acre of backyard green through the steamy window. Then I spotted my youngest child dancing across the grass in her birthday suit and her glitzy gold sandals.
I wrapped myself in a towel and unlocked the bathroom door. Lizzy was waiting on the other side with an apologetic grin.
On a Mother's Day not so far from now, I may begin my morning with a hot soak and a luscious linger in the Bible. But today, I’m thankful for the mob beyond my bathroom door and a God who showers me graciously with strength to meet their needs.
Alicia is mom to five children ranging in ages from 3-13, a freelance writer and speaker who speaks monthly at MOPS groups across the state of Iowa and a contributor to MomSense magazine. She writes, plays and conquers laundry in the small town of Pella, Iowa.