It is Mother’s Day.
The sun is shining, the pool just opened, my father-in-law and former college roommate celebrated birthdays yesterday, and I haven’t written a blog post since a few days after the New Year.
For the first time in my life, we filed for a tax extension. This might be the first time in over a decade that we will actually owe money. (I feel like my father.)
But another winter has come and gone, another tax season lingers like a small but persistent rash, and we who live in the suburbs are doing that thing we do in the spring, which is rush to get everything done so that we can lounge and play and drink through the summer, enjoying the fruits of our neighbor’s labor.
My garden is getting there, and for the first time in our marriage, John isn’t annoyed about it. (I knew I’d wear him down.) I found a lady (sweet Saundra Martin Jacobs who you must go visit if you live in the Triad) who propagates all sorts of plants, and bought some blueberries and raspberries from her the other day. I started small, because I’ve been known to kill aloe. But I have high hopes and John was genuinely excited about the prospect of berries.
We’re winding down to the end of school, which means, now, that state testing is nearly upon us. What this really means is that my public school children are doing a lot of nothing these days in the classroom, and my sweet genius named Eliott is adding 2-3 books a day to her Goodreads list, because I called her teacher and banned her from all forms of technology until the end of the year. I do, in all honesty, look forward to summer, and the opportunity to let my kids rest their brains and move their bodies and maybe embrace some of the creativity that has gone into hiding in the last few weeks.
The countdown for preschool is officially under 20 days, and I have to will myself from tears every time I drop off and pick them up from the happiest place in my world.
Today, I am a bag of mixed blessings. I was woken up very early, but allowed to go back to sleep for nearly two hours, while my children rolled out the pink carpet (made entirely of dress-up clothes) and showered me with love in the form of homemade gifts. (John survived the chaos by drinking at least half of the mimosas before 9am, smart man.) I plan to wear this noodle necklace until it disintegrates.
Then I came home from church to find my phone blown up with Mother’s Day messages of love, from other mothers.
All of them.
This is only the beginning of what became a long list of Mother’s Day love, from a few of the dear women with whom I am so lucky to share a little corner of Earth.
But I am also reminded today of the full measure of my blessings, as several friends are preparing for, or mourning, very recent losses. It seems this month has been full of news of ended relationships, sudden and severe sickness, and even death.
I often feel spoiled and naive and humbled by the fact that I’ve not yet experienced this depth of tragedy in my life. I have no advice for my friends who have just been cut in half and are watching this piece of themselves walk away. A piece that they took for granted would always be there. (A piece that I take for granted will always be there.) I have no advice and no empathy for those who have recently lost a loved one, or are celebrating their first mother’s day without their mom, or are burdened today by the fact that they have not yet had the chance to become a mom, or are watching and waiting and praying they one of the reasons for today’s celebration isn’t about to leave their lives forever.
Because I am spoiled. And I am lucky. And I am blessed.
And I know it isn’t wrong for me to be happy today, and to celebrate. But it sure seems to put into perspective the days that I complain, that I unload on John the difficulties of 3:30pm until dinner time.
Every year, Mother’s Day takes on a new facet of pride for me, and this year, while there are four obvious reasons to be proud, I am most proud to be part of this club of women who have learned how to take care of others. There are many women, today, who I celebrate. Of course, my own mom. My husband’s mom. My sisters who are young moms and my sisters-in-law who are about to be moms for the first time.
But even more than that, today, it is all the women who have mothered my children with me. Mothered me when my own mom was a state away. The ones who have stepped in with just the right word, or meal, or proposition for a walk at just the right time. The ones who are wearing their own struggles on their sleeves, like I do, and telling me my crap doesn’t look or smell any worse than everyone else’s crap.
These friends, sisters, mothers, and daughters, who rely on each other to do and be for the world what our husbands and boyfriends and fathers and brothers just can’t.
Because they are not women.
And even though many days are filled with the kind of elementary and preschool bickering that makes me want to come out of my skin, I do have moments of clarity, when I simply cannot wait for my own daughters to be in this club.