On Friday I had a coworker ask me if I had any plans for Mother’s Day, and I was startled to realize it is Sunday, today. First and foremost, I really do not celebrate Mother’s day and encourage my kids to celebrate it with their remaining grandmother who does appreciate the acknowledgement and being feted by her husband, children, grandchildren, and now great-grandchildren. Or their mothers/grandmothers-in-law.
For me, I honestly feel like every day is Mother’s day. My kids are amazing and wonderful to me, and in the big picture it is humbling that they like me as a regular person as well as love me for the place I hold in their lives. This was not the experience I had with my own parents, particularly my mother, so it seems like a miracle that I have built this with my children. I do not need a Hallmark holiday to encapsulate the reality of our day-to-day relationships, because I know all too well how fortunate and truly blessed I am in this life.
But since it was my birthday this week and there were great cards, flowers, special dinners, special lunches, cake in the office the day after, and such happy, celebratory stuff all around me, it has me thinking about my kids, parenting, and where we are on the journey.
This year is uniquely special, in that C got married on April 22, G will follow suit on September 9. Different weddings, different celebratory occasions, different kids. When I look at pictures of C’s wedding and what she and A posted from their Disneyworld honeymoon, they look so happy. And it touches me in deep, abiding ways that are impossible to explain in mere words. But I recognize a parental journey milestone when I feel it, and I am so happy for her, for them.
A couple of weekends ago K and I were chatting and she asked me what song I wanted for my dance with G at their wedding reception. I had carefully blocked from my mind that there is dancing, period. M does not dance, and I have discussed and described my own geeky social awkwardness in detail. So it’s not something I am comfortable with and definitely do not do well AT ALL, but I can suck it up and deal for this special occasion. My first thought when she asked about the song? Please let me choose something appropriate and mercifully short. Thankfully I did not say that out loud and stopped myself from texting it.
But I did take it seriously and immediately began my search for the right song that is mercifully short. And before 5 minutes of reading and listening had passed, I was bawling my eyes out. Sentimental sappy me, brought down by music connected wedding and family.
There were songs I love and had gone to sleep on for a long time. There were songs completely not right for this occasion that I added to my Amazon prime playlists anyway. Songs that reminded me of my oldest daughter and how inwardly painful it is for me on these milestone events that she is not here with us. It’s old pain that never fades completely, yet it still catches me off guard and sucks the air from my lungs when it happens.
Mother’s day is hard when you are short one kid. But without loss and without pain I suppose we would have a difficult time discerning the good and the sweet moments the come with the day-to-day business of living.
In my heart, I know I am better, kinder, more loving, and more generous of spirit from raising these particular children into responsible, productive adults, for being their mom. Motherhood brings a lot of tough lessons, from how to set aside my own innate selfishness and put others first to understanding and really knowing the impacts my words and my actions had/have upon them. My humanity has its flaws, of course, and I tend to believe the way I have managed my own struggles has taught them things I never learned from my own closed-off parents of origin.
For me, being a mom has been a defining quality in my life, and I am grateful every day for the experiences I have had and the great unknowns in the future ahead. To my friends and readers who are mothers, I wish you a day filled with love and the joy and sense of satisfaction for the role we have undertaken. Whatever your place in the journey as a mother or as a daughter, being a mother is not always easy and how we make it work is as unique as the children we have in our lives. My hope, always, is that you are enjoying the journey and all its possibilities.
Happy Mother’s Day to the many mothers and grandmothers out there. And happy Sunday to all.