A few friends asked me to write about Mother’s Day for the blog today. I wasn’t going to. In fact, I have another post ready and loaded because I was hesitant to write about this day for a few reasons. The first and most obvious is that I fear I am losing my mother more and more every day. She’s slipping away from me mentally, if not physically, and the idea that next Mother’s Day she might not know who Husband and Daughter are. The thought of her not knowing who I am is intolerable. So there’s that. The second, though, is that Mother’s Day has been notoriously bad for me in my family. Let me explain.
My first couple of Mother’s Days were calm and sweet and uneventful. On each there was a lovely dinner prepared by Husband and tea in the morning and I didn’t need to change a single diaper. When Daughter hit 3 years, we decided we would start doing something that I loved on the special day. That first year we drove to the zoo unaware that most moms in the state of Colorado were doing the same. Because it was so crowded we had to park far away and Daughter was displeased. She began to have a fit about half way through the walk to the entrance and was warned that she needed to calm down or else we would leave and just go home. She didn’t like that either and showed her annoyance by hitting Husband. We turned right around. I had to carry her as she screamed and kicked while doing that weird arched back thing that all kids are masters at somehow. Husband decided to jog to the car and get it since Daughter was difficult to wrangle, so I pulled over to the side. A sweet woman around my age walked over to me and said, “Happy Mother’s Day.” She smiled and walked away.
Mother’s Day at ages 4-6 were shockingly similar. We would go to a place that I wanted to spend my day and something with Daughter would go awry. Most of the time I was told that I was the meanest mommy ever or that she didn’t love me anymore. Sometimes I was told both. Those were the rough years. Although age 3 was by far the worst and even with the tantrums coming rather few and far between, they always seemed to happen on the second Sunday in May. Every. Single. Year.
Age 7 was going to be different.
By this age Daughter was delightful and amazing to be around. Husband made reservations for a Mother’s Day high tea, something that all three of us enjoyed immensely. We went and celebrated and ate yummy tea sandwiches and scones and drank pots and pots of tea, all the while watching Daughter get more and more quiet. Before we were ready to leave, as we were wrapping up our final course, Daughter looked at me and said she didn’t feel quite well. I asked her to come give me a hug and realized she was burning up. Sure enough, she had a fever over 103 and the next day strep was diagnosed. She was so very sick all I could do for the rest of the day was hold her while she silently cried.
Now she is 8 and I have slowly come to the realization that sometimes one cannot be in charge of the Universe. When she went to bed on Mother’s Day Eve, Husband said something about going out the next day to which I replied “We’ll see.” Sure enough, 3:46 am on my day Daughter came into the bedroom, woke me up, and told me she wasn’t feeling well. Unable to breathe or swallow, head aching, joints screaming, and a fever to match. I mended her as bet I could and lie awake for the next two hours. She was up and down so much in that time attempting to soothe herself to sleep and each time she did something new in her room (which is shockingly close to where Husband and I sleep) I was roused from an almost-sleep all over again. In that drowsy place I made my discovery.
The Universe doesn’t want me to have peace and calm on Mother’s Day, but not because I don’t deserve it. The Universe is telling me something very important. Being a mother is not an easy thing, and each day is an unexpected joy or pain. The Universe is saying, “Don’t plan ahead; take it as it comes. Remember the things mothers need to do. Do them as well as you can. Take pleasure in simply being a mother. Enjoy the quiet when it happens, but don’t linger on it. Much sooner than you want it to come, the quiet will be all you have.”
Thanks, Universe. I hear you.