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The Children’s Hour

My mother did not like Mother’s Day.  All I can remember was her calling it a Hallmark Holiday.  She said it was just a way to sell greeting cards and that every day was mother’s day.  But I have my own children now and will be celebrating my 28th Mother’s Day this year on a day that coincides with my daughter’s birthday and I know full well it’s not Mother’s Day, it’s Children’s Day.

Do not celebrate what I do as a mother because I do it instinctively the way a tiger raises her cubs.  I had little training, less forethought, and no plans when I became a mother the first time.  I faced my new child, looked into her navy blue eyes, and said, “Now what?”  Let’s not celebrate that.

Do not buy me trinkets, please, do not buy me trinkets.  The ads for the types of gifts a mother would want are an embarrassment to the Women’s Movement.  I do not want a ceramic thing I will need to dust.  I know how much flowers cost, and I don’t need chocolate.

Do not get me gift subscriptions to “women’s” magazines.  I do not have time for scrapbooking or new recipes.  I don’t want to know how to keep my garage organized, and I will never crochet pillow covers.

Do not get me breakfast in bed.  That is one thing I do not understand.  When I could sit at a table and not get coffee all over the sheets and blankets, why would I want breakfast in bed?  You could make me coffee though.

Then, just let me spend the day with my children.  

I have four smart, beautiful, and important children.  They are the love of my life, the source of my inspiration, my muse, my comfort, the salve for my battle scars.  I have given them my best and they have made me a better person in the process.  They make me proud. 

As I prepare not to celebrate Mother’s Day this weekend, I am reminded of one of my mother’s favorite poems.  My mother knew a lot more about Mother’s Day than she ever let on.

The Children's Hour

By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Between the dark and the daylight,

      When the night is beginning to lower,

Comes a pause in the day's occupations,

      That is known as the Children's Hour.


I hear in the chamber above me

      The patter of little feet,

The sound of a door that is opened,

      And voices soft and sweet.


From my study I see in the lamplight,

      Descending the broad hall stair,

Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,

      And Edith with golden hair.


A whisper, and then a silence:

      Yet I know by their merry eyes

They are plotting and planning together

      To take me by surprise.


A sudden rush from the stairway,

      A sudden raid from the hall!

By three doors left unguarded

      They enter my castle wall!


They climb up into my turret

      O'er the arms and back of my chair;

If I try to escape, they surround me;

      They seem to be everywhere.


They almost devour me with kisses,

      Their arms about me entwine,

Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen

      In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!


Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,

      Because you have scaled the wall,

Such an old mustache as I am

      Is not a match for you all!


I have you fast in my fortress,

      And will not let you depart,

But put you down into the dungeon

      In the round-tower of my heart.


And there will I keep you forever,

      Yes, forever and a day,

Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,

      And moulder in dust away!

3 Comment count
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Absolutely beautiful, Anne. A

Absolutely beautiful, Anne. A treasure. Thank you. mx

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That's one of the most

That's one of the most beautiful pieces about motherhood I have ever read (your piece, I mean).  You sound like such a warm and earthy mother, Anne.

I hope you have a truly warm and loving Mother's Day.

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Thanks, Mary - I am so happy you enjoyed this.

Thanks, Katherine - I had a lovely Mother's Day, celebrating my daughter's birthday instead of focusing on me.  It was great.