I’ve written my fair share of Mother’s Day posts that talk about the emotional complexities of this celebratory day. I’ve gotten philosophical about mothering and pondered how I came to terms with being a mother. Some years I posted nothing about it at all. Those were the years where I was doing my best to dodge the holiday and try to forget it was a thing.
So I think it only fair to acknowledge the actual happiness of this year. It seems like Mother’s Day acts as a magnifying glass, amplifying and bringing into focus how I’m feeling about my life and my parenting failures or successes. The good mother’s days are the ones where my kids are thriving and/or demonstrate that they learned some of the lessons I worked so hard to teach. Because if they’re growing, then all the sacrifices of time and emotional effort are redeemed. If they are faltering all my self doubt comes into sharp focus. I know that Mother’s Day isn’t supposed to be a score card. I know I should not use my children’s lives as a measure for my success. I work at not doing those things, but the self doubts creep in, especially during the hard years.
On the joyful years, like this one, I’m not feeling self-congratulatory. What I’m feeling is grateful. I have four amazing children with bright futures ahead and they’re finally stepping forward into those futures. I have Howard, who sneaks out of the house to buy a flowers and an assortment of fancy cheeses because he loves me. I have my mom whom I’ll get to visit in two weeks and who I’ll call tomorrow. I have a yard full of plants that are blooming and about to bloom. I have writer friends who nurture my creative efforts. I have so much in my life that is beautiful and good. Mother’s Day seems as good as any for me to pause and fully feel grateful for all the things I have.
If you are among those who are having a difficult day today, I offer this hope: I’ve had a lot of difficult Mother’s Days, and this year I’m not. Perhaps in your future you’ll also have a day where you feel nothing but happy and grateful.