In the beginning, there were two grandmothers (his and mine), two mothers (also his and mine), and three Other Mothers (all mine. I think it’s a girl thing.) to honor and celebrate by way of food, flowers, gifts, cards, calls, and visits. Then one fine year, I had a baby on Mother’s Day, and I thought “Yay! Now that I’m a mother, I’ll be able to sleep in, have breakfast served to me in bed, get all kinds of goodies, and spend an entire day doing whatever I want when I want.” Wrong. There was now a daughter, two grandmothers, two mothers, and three Other Mothers to honor and celebrate.
As time rolled on, there was a daughter, one grandmother, two mothers, and three Other Mothers.
Then a daughter, two mothers, and three Other Mothers.
Then a daughter, two mothers, and one Other Mother.
And now: a daughter, one mother, and one Other Mother.
In a Velveteen Rabbit kind of way, what started out as balm for my I’m-worn-slap-out-and-who-needs-a-Mother’s-Day-for-herself-anyway soul has gradually become Real: I don’t ever want to guilt my children into obligatory public displays of affection for me on one particular day of the year, and I don’t want fancy, expensive gifts that I’ll just have to find a place for then dust. I lean towards gluttony – I want them to love me every day in a myriad of ordinary ways, and I’ll take cheap trinkets and baubles and handwritten notes that show they were thinking about me throughout the year.
When I gave birth to my daughter and 14 months later to my son, it was Mother’s Day, regardless of dates on the calendar. (And yes, I realize she is standing on the kitchen counter, unattended. I learned everything I know about child safety from my mother.)
Every time my son brought me a dandelion bouquet or my daughter brought me roses picked from her grandmother’s yard, it was Mother’s Day.
When my daughter insists I try on new makeup, it’s Mother’s Day.
When my son calls me just to check in or texts me the title of a movie he wants me to see so we can talk about it or emails me a link to an article or app he knows I’ll like, it’s Mother’s Day.
When my daughter asks if she can come up to the mountain top for a while or when my son calls to insist that I fly out for this particular arts festival he knows I’ll love: Mother’s Day.
When my children tell me it was not easy having me for a mother when they were in high school because I am creative and not at all like anybody else’s mom, it’s most definitely Mother’s Day.
When my daughter-in-law gets on the phone to wish me a happy birthday, it’s Mother’s Day.
When my answering machine is filled with messages that my daughter and my Other Son Whit have scripted as part of the elaborate prank they orchestrated (instead of doing their homework): Mother’s Day.
When the son manages enough breath support to beg me “Stop, stop. I need a minute” then falls on the floor literally rolling in uncontrollable laughter, eventually composing himself enough to climb back in the chair to take his place beside me and says, “Okay, you can continue now” so we can finish reading Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby: Mother’s Day.
When my daughter saves a place for me down front and introduces me from the stage, when she thanks me publicly for my support, it’s Mother’s Day.
When my son asks me to help him weave a basket for a cub scout badge, and when my daughter picks out the fabric for the dress she wants me to make, and when we move to the farm and they invent elaborate games to entertain themselves – you betcha, it’s Mother’s Day.
When my children unabashedly introduce me to their friends and their friends become my friends, it’s Mother’s Day.
Both children and maybe even my daughter-in-law and Other Son will check in at some point today to bid me a Happy Mother’s Day, and I’ll be tickled to hear from them. But what I ache for, appreciate the most, and never tire of is hearing them tell me that I’m still a part of their lives wherever they may be and that they’ll always love me, regardless of who they may be sharing their lives with — hearing their laughter — hearing them use the familiar words and phrases that never fail to send us into gales of chortles — seeing their bright eyes — having them call to say “I’m coming for a visit.” — cupping their precious faces in my hands — swapping stories that all start with “Remember the time when . . . ” as we sit with a bowl full of photos in our laps — growing a strong, loving relationship with my daughter-in-law — feeling their arms around me or their hand wrap around mine — hearing them purr when I scratch their backs — listening to the delights and angsts of their lives — having them ask me questions, even though my answers become increasingly thin and worn and run the risk of showing I’m not half as brilliant as they once though I was (oh those were the days) — watching them move through this world with grace and intelligence and compassion and creativity . . . I’ll put a flower behind my ear and raise a forkful of cake to that kind of Mother’s Day any ole’ day of the year.
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I’m feeling prolific today, which makes this the third post du jour in a day that has all the markings of being a 4+-post day, so scroll on down if you’re a mind to . . .