Today was probably my best Mother's Day ever. My first conscious thought was "my Mother's Day gift is having three beautiful children." Look at my treasures:
At about 6:30 this morning, Adam woke me up to give me the present he brought home from school a few days ago. It is a picture of his kindergarten class in their spring concert, taken by his classmate Atalaya's mom, Leisa, who is a professional photographer. There was also a card, and his hand prints on a rolled up piece of paper. Actually, he informed me, they were Atalaya's hand prints...he'd gotten his mixed up with hers, but we're planning to swap tomorrow. Eli gave me his Mother's Day present a few days ago: a great card he made himself, and a flower planted in a paper cup full of soil that he decorated with markers.
I often feel kind of unloved or under-appreciated on Mother's Day, but I never felt that today. I attribute my good mood to the talk I gave in sacrament meeting this afternoon. I've spent the last week preparing for it by studying how we discern between the negative, defeating voice of the adversary and the uplifting, hopeful voice of the Lord. I spent the morning finishing my preparation for the talk. As soon as the talk was over, I felt a great sense of relief. This was followed by the positive feedback of various ward members who had appreciated how honest and real my comments were. I think that the assignment to speak got me outside of myself, focused on the needs of others and on being receptive to the Spirit's guidance, such that I never had time to think about whether my family was celebrating my motherhood with enough heart-felt enthusiasm.
After sacrament meeting, the women stayed in the chapel for some special musical numbers provided by our friend Brandon, a master's student in piano, and by our very own Leslie, who just finished her master's degree in viola. Brandon played a piece by Brahms, as well as his own arrangements of "Be Still My Soul" and "Abide With Me, Tis Eventide." Leslie played a beautiful Bach cello piece (on her viola), followed by a medley of primary songs and hymns: "Love is Spoken Here," "I Feel My Savior's Love," and "Sweet is the Work." After the music, we adjourned to the gym for dessert and talking. We spent the last hour in the Relief Society room for a lesson by my friend Heather about the women in our lives who have mothered us.
After church I skipped choir (sorry Aubrey!) so that I could be home when my visiting teachers brought me dinner. Laurie and Sue decided that instead of a visit in May, they would make Sondra and me a Mother's Day dinner, so around five o'clock I received a delicious roasted chicken with stuffing, potato salad, and lime jello:
After our meal, we went to explore Lillie Park:
We took a nice little walk around the lake, threw the frisbee, and played on the jungle gym.
Esther turned one today, but her birthday kind of got overshadowed by Mother's Day and my preoccupation with preparing my talk for sacrament meeting. Plus, it is easy to put a baby's birthday on the back burner when she doesn't yet know how to demand parties and presents. But thanks entirely to my visiting teachers, there was an element of festivity to the day:
Laurie decorated my Mother's Day cake for Esther, too, and brought her a huge present wrapped in pink paper. By the time we got home from the park, however, our little birthday girl was exhausted, so we put her to bed without cake. We saved her a piece, though, and will let her open her present tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Baby Sister! Here is my favorite picture we took of her today--is that some great hair, or what?