I admit it. I was not looking forward to Mother’s Day. This, I realize, is pretty silly, that a date on a calendar wields such power over me, but it does.
I dread the day, because, by definition, it’s dedicated to family, and I am alone. This is a fact. I am the only inhabitant of my apartment, except for the robot vacuum I named Bob. Bob is a welcome addition to the household. He cleans, (even with a cheery little tune when he starts), is communicative (texts me to tell me when he’s done), and is mostly self-sufficient. I do, however, have to rescue him when he occasionally gets stuck in the closet.
Then there are the Mother’s Days of the past. You can’t really complain on Mother’s Day, because, well, it’s so unmother-like. But, I have been known to anyway. One year, I had a temper tantrum because no one got me a card or a gift or anything. Later that day, my kids made a run to Publix and got me a furry little cactus (which eventually became affectionately known as Grandpa). I wasn’t sure if the cactus had a hidden meaning, but I didn’t care. It was something.
This year, one of my best friends, Mary, invited me to her parent’s house for brunch. I gratefully accepted and found myself driving across the Skyway bridge not so early this morning. On the way, I called my Mom in Norway to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day and to talk. This is a feat not to be underestimated. After over 30 years of calls when she often had to go because “something was on the stove,” we are now able to have a lively and loving conversation. Getting older sucks in many ways, but there are gifts, and this is one. All the old bitterness and resentment now just feels like a big fat waste of time.
When I arrived at brunch, the cooking (crab benedict and biscuits and gravy and other yummy stuff) was in full swing and the mimosas were flowing. I watched and listened and laughed with folks I’ve known and not known most of my life. When it was time to go, I left that house, a house where we often landed after any number of teenage-infused activities (stealing massive signs and hats off fast food drive-thru workers). My belly was full, and yes, as corny as it sounds, my heart was too.
On the way home, as I drove back over the Skyway, it occurred to me that this day is not just to honor my mother and to celebrate my kids. Today, thanks to Mary, her family, and the many, many women (and men) who have supported me in ways big and small, on this journey as a daughter and a mother, I realize this day belongs to all of them, and to all of us.
Back at home, sitting at my dining room table, in my apartment (with Bob), as I FaceTime with my kids, I realize (I know), that I am not at all alone.
This song speaks for itself. Happy Mother’s Day.