This is how you *think* Mother's Day might go. Breakfast in bed, children ready for church without much intervention from you, well-behaved kiddos at church and at brunch, and you kick your feet up and relax as your husband does the housework and simultaneously takes care of the children for you. Flowers, gifts, cake, cards, handwritten notes, photos, a nap for you, bath salts and the time to use them, etc. may be involved.
We keep it simple. We went to brunch! And my 4-year-old made me a card first thing in the morning without prompting or help. (It was a brown fire truck.)
But honestly, it didn't really occur to me that those other things might be involved until at the end of the day, I did what I rarely do on a Sunday, and I checked facebook. And I think there can be kind of a cumulative expectation counter in your subconscious - these people I know did something we didn't. And so did these people. And these... we did *none* of those things! (Relax. Everyone celebrates in their own way. You're happier than you think! Quit checking to make sure!)
But more than that, I think social media can be really hard for people on Occasions of Expectation, like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays of lost loved ones...really any holiday. Or any day, at any moment when suddenly, something you see at a store, or a voice you hear, or a person the same age, or a rock you see on the ground, or a certain section of a department store, or a song on the radio - reminds you of your loss but simultaneously of their company, and you are both eased and pained, your heart wrenches together as those two layers twist you up. It makes you alone right then, so you can be with that person as much as possible, your heart hugging the nothingness, squeezing in on itself.
Over the past few months, I've known 4 mamas who've suffered the loss of babies about halfway into their pregnancies. I also know a few mamas who are losing out on time with their children due to divorces that are happening. I cannot begin to comprehend losing a child at any stage, and my heart breaks for you.
This is also the first year my mother, father, and husband have all been without their mothers. We lost my father's mother Carolyn this past fall. Geoff lost his mother 3 years ago, and my mom lost hers when she was only 9. I'm very lucky to still have my mother. She really loves and respects my dad, and it shows in the way she talks to him. She taught me how to be married but still be yourself. I'm very happy for them that they've been together 38 years.
My mom taught me a lot, and it's pretty fun to have my own child who's at the age I was when I remember my mom first teaching me how to read & write. I remember her throwing a big sheet over the dining room table and baking cookies for my brother and me one day when it rained. I remember being 2 and my mom coming outside and handing me a tootsie roll, of all things. I remember her and my dad pulling us in our little red wagon up the sidewalk.
And now that I think about it, today I pulled my own two children in their little red wagon after they woke up from their nap. We dusted off the bikes and wagons for the first time this year.
We found a tire swing they could both sit on at the back corner of someone's yard as the late afternoon sun bounced through little G's emerging blonde baby curls, and daffodils were all around us...it was a perfect moment. Only about 2 minutes, but perfect.
I wish I could have seen my mom today. I should have at least called. What *was* I doing? Let's see.
We went to church, and C could not leave my bare arm alone. He is really fascinated by the great reveal of my upper arms, as he's hardly seen them for 7 months. He couldn't keep kissing me, but it was tickling the fool out of me, so I sat him in my lap so he couldn't really mess with me (so I didn't have to tell him not to kiss me, sheesh). Then toward the end of a long, quiet prayer, he leaned back and gave me a big, loud, wet raspberry right on my cheek.
When it was time to take him to toddler church, I checked in on G in the nursery, and my friend asked if she was going, too, since toddler church did start at age 2 (and she just turned 2). I hadn't really thought about it too much, except to wonder if there was a promotion Sunday in August when the school year started, and should I ask Geoff, and should I take a picture, and expecting no response, I just asked, "G, would you like to go to toddler church?" And before I could finish my question, she darted out on her little sock-footed baby feet and ran into the room with C. Well, I guess that answered my question!
She did great. They made me magic wands with ribbon streamers and stickers. Awww...
We sang a hymn based on Proverbs 31, which is about this mystical model woman I strive to be like daily. I just felt really lucky and could not be more happy. I kind of just want to freeze time.
Then we went to brunch.
We went to brunch at the Senator Inn in Augusta, which was very nice. I had a salad with strawberries and bleu cheese with orange ginger vinaigrette dressing, eggs benedict, peas, steamed broccoli, rice, bacon, and blueberry muffins with those crunchy sugary tops. Awesome! Geoff was really sweet to make the reservations.
The kids fell asleep on the way there. They were, as usual when we go to a nice buffet, awesome. For about 20 minutes. Five buffet trips and three bathroom trips later, I think G had said "Happy Mudder's Day!" to at least 50 adoring strangers, and C acquainted himself with the mom at the table next to us. Then he leaned in and *kissed her boob!* Her husband laughed so loud I thought the ceiling might fall in and her teenage son was no help. Luckily, she thought it was hilarious and C was adorable. (But seriously, it might be time for a talk...)
G insisted I carry her to the next table to say hi to a baby boy, and when she saw how cute he was, she asked me to wipe her face for her.
At some point, someone came to bus our table and spilled my full mimosa all over the place, including on the back of another lady behind us.
At another point, my children decided to randomly just go, "EEEEE!" at the top of their lungs.
G got chocolate fondue all over everything, and I had to carry her facing out with sticky little chocolatey fingers opening and closing and giddy chunky legs bicycling below. Everyone turned and laughed as she traveled, and she loudly announced, "Chocola! Chocolaaaaa!" It was going well until I got to the other side of the building and realized I literally forgot where the bathroom was, which I'd already been to. I am losing my mind.
During what might be the longest 10 minutes of any parent's restaurant experience, the bill came, which requires waiting. Waiting as they pick up the card. Waiting as they return it. Then trying to do Math at the end of a restaurant experience...luckily Geoff is a human calculator. I'm not sure I can remember my full name by the time a 4 and 2 year old are done at a restaurant.
I spent those 10 minutes working off almost every calorie chasing G through the dining room and lobby, and back the other direction, stopping periodically for people to tell me how cute she was, or how they loved her bonnet. She waved and laughed her big loud toddler laugh, and ran away. Luckily, the oyster bar had a giant fish tank, so I was able to immobilize them there until Geoff came to find us. It had been a wonderful time, but gosh, it was getting on 3:00. These kids normally nap at like 1:30 or 2. Great! we'll scurry 'em on home and get 'em down for a nice, long nap. We're done!
Then, the last words you want to hear: "Mommy, I have to poop."
This is the kid who will take 20 or more minutes. So we all hung out in and out and around the ladies room as G came and went and opened and closed the cabinet under the sink about 25 times.
We finally made it out, got the kids home, and we all took a really, really long nap. And I didn't do any housework. I think I said Peek-A-Boo at least 450 times during dinner, and the house was covered in toys by bedtime. A Total wreck.
It was a happy Mother's Day. My 5th. And probably the best one yet.
Happy Mother's Day to my mama, and to all of you out there who are biological mothers, mothers-to-be, who just want to be mothers, mothers who are adjusting to half the time with your children, mothers at heart, mothers by adoption, or mothers to kids who aren't your children at all. To all my mama friends who help me figure this out as we go and help me mother, both in person and across great distances, through concrete actions and little experiences that shaped me and in turn, our family - I love you all.