My dream Mother’s Day? That’s an easy one to tell you about, because I already lived it—the last day of our recent family holiday… We were staying on the North Cornwall Coast in England. It was a warm day in late spring, no clouds in the sky. We packed the beach essentials—sunscreen, blanket, windbreak, snacks, bucket and spade—and off we went.
We were on the beach for 5 hours, just happy to be there with each other. There were no phone calls, no interruptions, no deadlines, no pressures. Hubs and I dug deep holes in the sand for the children to sit in. We built sand castles for them to knock down. Boy indulged his love of driving toy cars along rocks, Melon and me took a walk accross the top of some sand dunes, and sat on the coarse coastal grass looking out accross the beach to the glittering sea beyond. The tide was out, and we took a walk down to the sea. Boy had to be carried most of the way, pointing and babbling at everything he saw, calling them all “car”. Melon ran the whole way and plunged into the icy water. She was shrieking with laughter, jumping in the foam and surf, face alight with joy. Hubs held Boy facing down above the waves, so he could watch them flowing in and out. The Dog splashed around next to us, some riders from the local riding school bought their horses to paddle and gallop along the sea front, people were learning to surf, it was heaven.
We went back to our blankets. No one cried the whole time, Boy didn’t want a nap, just more holes and sandcastles, Melon was perfectly happy lying in the sand on her tummy, feeling the rough warmth of it against her skin. We were together. We were happy. We were at peace. To be there together just enjoying each other, sharing simple activities, actual genuine quality family time… It was perfect.
I KNOW that I am loved by my children when I have been away somewhere, or when I collect them from school/nursery. It’s in that moment when they see me enter the room, or when they cach sight of me accross the playground. It’s in the way I see their body language change and their faces light up. It’s in the way they propel their little bodies like cannonballs and close the distance between us down to nothing. It’s in the way they take a jump as I open my arms, and in the way they wrap their arms around my neck so tightly. That grip – like they are holding onto a rock in a stormy sea. It’s in that moment when I know that, for now at least, I am their world, I am their strong protector, when I know and believe that I can do those things, and do them well. Then they loosen their grip and look into my face. Smiling, laughing, Eye contact, soul contact. Love.
A song that reflects how I feel about being a Mom is “Halo” by Beyoncé. I can’t actually listen to it without getting a bit teary. It might seem like an odd choice of song for a Mother, but for me it reflects the love I have for my children, the way they filled and transformed my life, and the way that they push me (without even being aware of it) to be the best version of me, the best Mom, that I possibly can. This group hug photo, taken on that special last day of our holiday, sums up everything I am trying to say here. It’s us, my family, with blue sky and dazzling rays of sunshine, close, together, loving, happy, complete.
Everywhere I’m looking now
I’m surrounded by your embrace
Baby, I can see your halo
You know you’re my saving grace
You’re everything I need and more
It’s written all over your face
Baby, I can feel your halo
Pray it won’t fade away
**Liz O’ Keefe is a 35 year old Autism Mom from the UK. Her beautiful daughter Melon was diagnosed as autistic last October 2013, and she has been reading, writing and reflecting on autism and her family’s experiences on her blog, Cat on a Trampoline, and FACEBOOK page since then. Through hard times and good, she believes that there is a lot to celebrate about autism, she believes in positive.
**A Mother’s Day is a collaboration between Jodi Murphy and Jessica Wade with contributions by the marvelous Mighty League Moms. Jodi is the founder of Geek Club Books, autism storytellers through mobile apps for the social good. Jessica is a married mother of four ‘genius’ children. She is a full-time working mama and runs a website and blog dedicated to her son, Micah, who is non-verbal with autism and congenital hypothyroidism. She is also Founder of MicahBoyGenius Foundation, a non-profit created to provide iPads to non-verbal children.
**Original photograph by Liz O’Keefe’s husband