Happy Mother’s Day to YOU
I have never heard anybody say motherhood is exactly how they thought it would be. Same goes for Mother’s Day. Like motherhood itself, I had opinions and ambitions and ideas about what Mother’s Day was supposed to look like. I would wake up (looking gorgeous and not at all tired) to french press coffee and fresh flowers and perfect pancakes just misshapen enough for me to know that my kids had helped make them. Breakfast would be followed by a long, sunny hike on which there would be no complaining or perspiration. The day would come to a close with presents and wine and general peacefulness. That is not at all what Mother’s Day looks like though, that is what a fabric softener commercial looks like.
My first Mother’s Day was a relative success, mostly because Shep was only a few months old and spent most of his time sleeping, waking to eat, poop, and smile at us. For my second Mother’s Day, we went to idyllic Vogel State Park in Georgia, plopped him in the Ergo and walked together for hours. Mike changed most of the diapers and I felt like we could accomplish anything with our tiny, portable human. My third Mother’s Day fell on the due date of the baby we lost. We had gotten pregnant easily after Shep and thought that we would never have to live through miscarriage again. We were wrong. The weekend was about survival not celebration and that was okay. My fourth Mother’s Day, was a flaming hot disaster.
I was 37 weeks pregnant with Delaney, Mike and I had to go to a weekend wedding out of town. We dropped Shep, a wild animal threenager, off in Kentucky to stay with his aunties for the weekend and listened to the audio version of Janet Lansbury’s “No Drama Discipline” the whole drive. I felt helpless and hormonal and like I was barely hanging on. At the wedding, I wore a bridesmaid’s dress that was the wrong shade of pink and hardly fit around the extra 55 lbs I was carrying in my belly (… and my ankles and my face). I stood beside a lineup of the most ideally shaped women I have ever seen and sneeze-peed on myself when while our friends said “I do” with a light in their eyes and I couldn’t ever imagine getting back. Mike got drunk, wedding drunk, everyone did. Except for me.
The next day was Mother’s Day, Mike woke up devastatingly hungover, he forgot to get me a card, he forgot to do anything at all. I was so upset that I hardly spoke to him on the drive back to Nashville and sent him to Kentucky to get Shep alone. The house was empty except for the cat and me and the little baby Delaney in my belly. I sat on the couch and ate peanut butter by the spoonful and felt her press around my abdomen. I was still and I thought about everything our little family had been through and about all of the things that were to come. I let my life slow down for a second and though there were no people, no flowers, or cupcakes, I celebrated myself for becoming the mama I was. I said thank you to my body for carrying two glorious little humans, to my heart for extra stores of energy and love that I never knew it had, and to my brain, for forgetting to pack Shep’s school water bottle, but always remembering the words to Little Blue Truck.
Shep burst through the door with big hugs and all the energy, Mike followed with big hugs and all the remorse. We spent the evening together and ordered takeout and laughed. We even used the new “No Drama” techniques and they worked. For a moment, I feft like we could accomplish anything with our rambunctious, bright light of a boy.
This year for Mother’s Day, whether I get my weirdly shaped pancakes or peonies or nothing at all, I will remember to take a moment alone and say Happy Mother’s Day to myself, to reflect upon the incredible changes and joys and sacrifices that make this gig what it is … hard and beautiful and wonderful and messy and unlike anything else in the world.
I hope you have a magical Mother’s Day and I hope that your people celebrate you wildly. Most of all though, mama, I hope you take a minute to celebrate yourself. You truly are incredible. We are truly incredible.