My three lanyards

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I love Mother's Day.  

Maybe because I'm lucky enough to have a husband and kids who seem to get it right every year.  Maybe it's because I know just how lucky I am to have them all in my life.  Maybe it's because I'm a sucker for breakfast in bed, flowers, and handmade cards.

Whatever the reason, it's one of my favorite Sundays of the year.

Today, I'm reflecting and feeling especially poignant on this beautiful Sunday in May.  I'm so thankful to have been given the privilege of raising these three kids.  They light up my world and make every day have purpose.  They are flesh of my flesh and each carry a piece of me with them.  I would not trade them for anything or anyone else.

I cherish every messy, quirky, crazy, beautiful day I get to spend with them.

One of my favorite poems in the whole world is Billy Collins' The Lanyard.  It sums up so perfectly the beauty of the mother/child relationship and makes me smile and laugh every time I read it.  

The Lanyard, by Billy Collins

The other day I was ricocheting slowly
off the blue walls of this room,
moving as if underwater from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
when I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one into the past more suddenly—
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid long thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light

and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift—not the worn truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
the two-tone lanyard from my hand,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.

Don't worry, my beautiful, crazy little lanyards.  We are more than even.