(This is re-posted from May 2012)
Mothers day is coming, once again and every year at this time, I recall my first mothers day.
My daughter was just 2 months old and I was SO excited! I woke up that morning with a sense of expectation and delight. I just knew that my husband had planned something special for this first mothers day…after all you can only have a FIRST mothers day once right? As the day went along, I kept looking around corners, listening for whispers and I pretty much kept an expectant smile on my face constantly. It wasn’t until early evening that I was asked “so what do you want to do for mothers day?” My daughter was latched to my breast and completely settled in for her early evening cluster feedings. “WHAT?”, I responded. I could not believe my ears. Is he actually asking me what I want to do for mothers day? He has nothing planned? NOTHING? I was mad. I was disappointed. I was heart broken. I went to bed that night with no special dinner, no card and any expectation for future mothers days completely ruined.
Let’s fast forward about 8 years. I was a new, single mom. I awoke to a sunny morning and 3 excited little children surrounding me with delighted whispers and giggles. I opened my eyes to see my daughter, standing by my bed a huge smile spread across her face and a bowl of cheerios in her hand. Next to her, was my oldest son, his beloved, impish grin shined back at me as he held a sloshing glass of juice up toward me in his sticky hand. Standing next to him, was my youngest son, about 3 at the time, standing there with a huge, confused smile on his face. He was holding my spoon and soggy napkin in his very wet, with milk, hand. (lets not be fooled, I laid in bed for 15 minutes listening to my three little people as they went through the adventure of preparing breakfast for me…. but we won’t tell them!) I had just awoken to the most delightful mothers day I had ever experienced and in many ways it was my first mothers day all over again. Having my children delight in me as their mom, hearing them do their best to think of me and love me, made my heart swell with pride and happiness. There were many ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhs’ of culinary pleasure that morning as I ate the very soggy cheerios, drank the warm, watery juice and hugged them all tightly.
5 years have passed since that repeated “first mothers day”. I must admit that deep in my heart I still don’t look forward to this particular holiday. I do, however, love my children and I have begun to look forward to the creative ways they come up with to show their love for me. I rejoice in their thoughtfulness and creativity. They don’t usually have help in preparing anything for me, they have to come up with a plan all by themselves. (part of being in a single parent family) Still, I struggle a bit. I think that most single moms battle internally with christmas and mothers day. The question is always on our mind “how do we help our children celebrate us? Who, if anyone, can take them shopping, give them idea’s, help them? How can I help them feel that they were successful in whatever they come up with to do? ” I try to focus my children on keeping it simple and home made. No matter what they do, I will adore it! This year, I suggested to my daughter that pinterest might be a useful tool! (I’ve even caught her taking me up on my suggestion, shhhh) My friend reminded me, that mothers day doesn’t have to continue to be hard for me. I can choose to relish the good ones. I am reminded that there are others who have experienced much worse then I have. That there are mothers who endure this holiday having never met their living children. Women who are not able to become mothers by birth and women who are grieving losses of their own mothers. Most importantly, I am reminded that not only do my kids appreciate my mothering but that my adult friends learn, grow and appreciate my mothering as well because I try to be authentic and honest in my own struggles as a mom.
Most days, I feel like I don’t measure up, but today, Mama’s Day, as my youngest calls it, is a day that I put my mommy guilt aside and revel in the love that my children have for me. Consequently, I have decided, that this year is going to be different. Oh, I am sure my sweet children will come up with something wonderful to do for my breakfast as has become their tradition. (and as they get older the breakfast gets better and less soggy) I have decided that my heart is going to capture these mothers days I have and treasure them. I have the precious, pure and delightful love of 3 smart and imaginative children. I am going to jump into this holiday with both feet. I am going to enjoy the innocent, loving mommy moments with my children and I am choosing to let go of the past.
So, BRING ON THE CHEERIOS! (did i mention that I don’t like cheerios?)