I have a confession to make. And it likely won’t be very popular. But when have you ever known me to do something simply because it was popular? Here it is. You ready? The truth is…I’m not super fond of Mother’s Day.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my mom and I am glad to be able to honor her. But as a mom, as a single mom, this weekend is really tough. I’ve spent the better part of today either crying or fighting the tears that want to come, depending on the situation. Crying at work isn’t typically the most acceptable way to greet customers, so I got by ok there. It was actually a good distraction. But it was difficult to hold back when I was at the grocery store and several people were buying flowers, and cards, and I was overhearing conversations of the planned menus that were being prepared tomorrow for all the moms.
I keep thinking back to a couple years ago, my first Mother’s Day after things were finalized. I remember sitting in Ihop with the kids, cutting pancakes and mopping up spilled orange juice and tending to everyone’s needs, when suddenly I looked around me. It was like slow motion that I noticed all the families. My eyes went from one table to the next, to the next, scanning the faces of moms, and kids, and dads. That was the day I realized Mother’s Day would never be the same for me.
Fortunately, I managed to get my work schedule switched around tomorrow, so I can spend the day playing with my babies. Assuming the weather cooperates, we’re going to spend part of the day at Eckert’s Farm over in Illinois where they will have rides, inflatables, and all kinds of other activities for the kids. But the other day when I called to make reservations for Mother’s Day brunch and as I spoke to the lady on the other end, she asked how many.
“Four,” I told her.
“Are there any children in your party?”
“But you said there are 4 total in the party, right?”
I wanted to scream into the phone, “Yeah, that’s right! I’m making my own reservation for my own brunch! And I’ll be picking up the tab too!” It wasn’t her fault that things turned out like this, but it was just one more reminder that my life didn’t go the way I planned.
The reality is I am a mom with great kids that I wouldn’t trade for the world. The other part of my reality is…I do it alone. Yes, I have a fantastic guy in my life who has come through for me big time on several occasions. And yes, I have the most amazing friends ever who make sure I am never lonely. And yes, my kids and my mom and the rest of my family love me to pieces and I’m so blessed to have them. But none of them are responsible for taking on the role of the other parent in my household. That is reserved for me alone.
Trust me, I’m not saying I regret my life choices. And I’m not saying I want to be back where I was. But I pulled out a picture earlier of Mother’s Day morning a few years ago. My three babies sitting on the floor next to my bed, crowded around a tray full of pop tarts and soggy cereal and something in a plastic wrapper. They had decorated big cards that read “I love you, Mommy!” That picture was taken the last time I got to wake up on Mother’s Day to my babies’ smiling faces. Tomorrow I will meet them at church and we will go off and spend a fun day together.
And while there is definitely something to be said for sleeping in, I would trade that a hundred times over for the snuggles in bed, and a tray of soggy cereal and cold pop tarts prepared for me.
I keep thinking about my friends that have lost their own moms, and my friends who have had several miscarriages or lost children, my friends who have been alienated from their children and friends that have struggled with infertility.
Mother’s Day is a beautiful sentiment to honor and celebrate the women who have brought us into the world and loved us unconditionally. But it is also bittersweet for many.
The fact is we can’t have any way of knowing what the experience is of anyone we encounter tomorrow. So the best we can do is to honor the moms of the world, wherever their babies are, on earth, in heaven, in their hearts. And tomorrow if you look around and notice a mom without a partner, or someone with sadness in their eyes, give them an extra smile. As a personal request from RRG, do what you can to pay it forward and spread a little extra sunshine.
So to all of the women in my life, whether you are a mom or not, I salute you and celebrate you tomorrow for the beautiful souls that you are and all that you bring to this world!
To all of the moms in my life, we have the toughest and most amazing job ever. Thank you for helping me navigate this challenging, rewarding, heart-breaking, exasperating, wonderful path of motherhood.
To the ones who are grieving, if I could wrap you in a big Lindsey sized hug, I would do it! I am sending love and prayers to so many of you.
To the three little people who made me a mom, I can’t imagine life without you. You make me laugh, you make me cry, and sometimes you make me completely CRAZY. But I love you all a super, super, super lot! And I wouldn’t trade you for anything!
And finally to my own mom, there are no words to thank you for all that you have put up with from me, but my one hope is that I can be to my children even half of what you have been to me. Love you, Ma. Thank you for making tomorrow worth celebrating! Happy Mother’s Day.