Remember playing this as a child? As a game, the rules were that we had to ask permission before we did what the leader wanted us to do.
Now, as a mom, when we hear those sweet little words, “Mother may I”, our hearts grow so tender as we stare down at the precious child that is so thoughtful that he/she is actually asking permission before they write on the walls or stuff a unwanted toy down the toilet. I remember my sons running in one day and asking, “mother, may we play in the water” assuming that they meant outside. I went on about my business of laundry and cooking and in a minute i heard Jamin tell Jason, “oh no, let’s get out of here”. I went to where the patter of little feet were running and looked down the hallway to see water filling up the floor as water was running out of the bathroom and down the hall. The sweet little 3 and 5 year olds had stuffed towels in the sink so water would stay in the sink for them to float their little plastic boats. But becoming bored, they ran off to play with something else, forgetting that the water was still running in the sink.
Then one day after I had come home from the hospital after having a miscarriage, I was still having to be in bed for a couple of days when my cousin, from Florida, called to cheer me up. Had not talked to Marion in quite a while so when the boys came in to ask me, “mother, may we play outside on the driveway and porch” I, being the wonderful, loving mother that I was, said, “of course sweeties, just don’t go out into the street and stay on the driveway and porch.” “of course, mother dear”. Well, I went back to telling Marion all about the hospital stay and how all the emotions that we were dealing with of losing the baby. After hanging up the phone, I decided to go see what the little darlings were doing on the porch as they had been outside for quite awhile. They met me right inside the front door yelling, “mom, come and see the footprints we made”! Well, how cute is this going to be, using their little imaginations to make footprints. Oh these boys just make me so proud. When I opened the front door, (and you can imagine what I looked like, having been in bed for a couple of days, after being in the hospital) I immediately saw several neighbors standing outside looking, laughing and pointing and a couple even had cameras and were snapping pictures. All down the front porch, down the sidewalk and down the drive way were the contents of a huge box of Kotex that they had peeled off the strip of adhesive and pressed them to the concrete making “footprints” all down the driveway and down the sidewalk. In those days the hospital would send you home with boxes of 48 count Kotex after babies or miscarriages. These precious little angels had got both boxes and used the entire contents to mark a path, “in case they got lost and needed to find their way home.” That was their story and they were sticking to it. After this, I would be taking them way to far for them to ever find their way home, no matter how many footprints they had left.
These days, when the grandchildren ask “grandma, may I…..?” I shut them off in mid sentence and tell them to just turn on the television or play video games. I would rather deal with the guilt of them being on the computer for hours than with me cleaning up their little innocent messes. Age and experience has taught me that when they are sweet enough to ask permission for something, it is usually going to be something that will make me have to clean up something. Guess that is why God gave them such adorable little faces, we just cannot possibly stay mad at them when we glance down at those innocent eyes, no matter the mess we have to clean.
Remember when Mother’s day arrives this Sunday and the bedroom door opens with little Oliver or Penelope standing there with a tray of breakfast that they are bringing you, there is a huge mess waiting for you in the kitchen. But….you will be able to rest when they are in college in a few years. it is then that you will forget all about the messes and the arguments; it is then that you love seeing them walk through the door, holding a huge bag of dirty clothes and say, “mother may I… get you to wash these?” The circle of life, laundry and love…it makes a mom so happy to be a mom.