Tomorrow is Mother’s Day.
I love getting together with my family and celebrating the woman who gave me life. I spend weeks thinking about and planning a gift that I hope will make her smile. I look forward to preparing her favorite meal (chicken piccata) and her favorite dessert (pineapple upside-down cake). My dad, brother, and I will sit around the dinner table, sharing our favorite stories about Mom–from the time she barricaded my teenage brother into his room so he’d stop sneaking out, to her reaction when I accidentally yanked the ceiling fan down with my Get in Shape girl ribbon. We’ll remember how she used to put little notes in our lunch boxes, or draw hearts in the peanut butter of our open faced sandwiches, just to remind us of how much she loved us.
I remember being in grade school leading up to Mother’s Day. We would spend a week’s worth of craft time coming up with clever gifts for Mom. Hand prints in clay, crooked flowers painted with care, handmade coupon booklets filled with all the chores we’d do, cards with long declarations of love written with backwards “E’s” and adorable stick people. I was always so excited to give my mother these treasures. And to her credit–she still has most of them. I bought her a wooden painted tulip one year with my “Good Citizen” tokens at school, and though it’s been broken and super-glued back together a hundred times, it still takes a place of honor in her curio cabinet, right next to the ceramic dog my brother bought her at the Dollar Tree when he was four.
She’s awesome like that.
I also remember skipping through the meadow next to our house, feet bare, bees buzzing in the spring sunshine, carefully plucking wildflowers for Mom. I would keep picking until I had an entire fistful of flowers–yellow and white and green and purple–and then I sneak into the house, bouquet clutched behind my back. She always lit up when I handed her those flowers. She would fuss over them and take them to the kitchen, putting them in a tiny glass vase she kept on the windowsill for just such occasions. It wasn’t until I was much older that I realized I’d been giving her handfuls of weeds. But she kept them. Every single time.
My childhood was as close to perfect as you can get. I have my parents to thank for that. And as an adult I realize, now more than ever, that I have so much to be grateful for, and so much to celebrate. I adore my Mom, and she knows it.
And yet, when the greeting cards begin to appear, and the signs in Hallmark start reminding you to “Show Mom How Much You Care,” I can’t help but feel a little tug in my gut that reminds me that those hand prints in clay, those little gifts of gratitude, aren’t anywhere in my foreseeable future. That despite the fact that I feel the name “Mama” carved into my heart, that there’s no one here, yet, to use that name for me. I will miss the flowers, the sticky kisses, the breakfasts in bed, the hastily thrown-together construction paper cards that so many mothers will experience tomorrow.
I don’t resent them their celebrations. They deserve to be celebrated. And I will be celebrating my own mother with them. I will shower her with gifts and food and love and attention. I will thank her for the many sacrifices she has made so that my life could be what is has been. I will hug her close and tell her that I love her. And I will do everything in my power to make her smile tomorrow, on Mother’s Day.
After the day of celebrating is done, I will come home and climb into bed with my husband. I will whisper into the night a prayer that one day, I’ll get to experience a day like today. And I will dream of round cheeks and tiny toes and wilting dandelions clutched in chubby fingers, just for me.