Mother’s Day changes through the years


First Posted: 5/11/2015

What I wanted for Mother’s Day has evolved over the past 13 years. Thinking back, it’s incredible how the way we spend this day has changed.

The first Mother’s Day I had the honor of celebrating was in 2002. Little Dani was days shy of being a year old and baby Lauren was on the way. I was overworked, exhausted and frazzled, and no one had provided my husband with the training necessary to properly honor me.

Little Dani had no idea it was my special day and Doug put more time and effort into gifting and calling his mother than recognizing that I was the mother of his child. After a typical day of chores and child care, I angrily asked my husband if I was going to get any special treatment. He looked at me dumb-founded, having given it no thought. At least he didn’t respond the way a good friend’s husband had, by saying, “Well, you’re not MY mother.”

He learned quickly and subsequent Mother’s Days have been full of pampering, gifts and special attention. The early years, when raising two children very close in age while also providing day care at our home to several other children, all I wanted was time off. That meant sleeping in as late as I wanted, being served breakfast in bed with the Sunday paper and having the children proudly present me with their hand-made gifts. I used to love the Sunday paper and had let go of reading it cover to cover as the amount of time I had to myself diminished. Reading it at my leisure every Mother’s Day was a luxury I relished.

When I felt like it, I would roll out of bed, generous gift card from hubby in hand, and head out to spend the day shopping for myself, by myself. If I felt like making it home or meeting them at a restaurant for dinner, I would, but it was completely up to me if I just wanted to continue my alone-time past the kids’ bedtimes.

Now that my oldest is about to enter high school and both of my older girls are quickly becoming more women and less children by the minute, my take on the holiday is changing. Sure, I’m still overworked and frazzled. There is a demanding job and a precious toddler in the picture now. The tedium of those early years: staying home, reading board books and facilitating arts and crafts projects has been replaced with multi-hour carpooling and sideline cheering, all with a 3-year-old in tow.

Seeing how fast it has all gone – how that blond-headed baby is now borrowing my clothes and talking about college plans, how the cherubic second baby with the lisp and chipmunk cheeks is such a wonderful babysitter to her much younger sister that I’m convinced she could successfully raise a child if need be. These things make me want to spend time with them, not ask for a break from them.

So as I reclined in bed on Sunday morning, fresh cup of steaming coffee lovingly being topped off by adoring daughters, my mind would not a need to escape, for reprieve, for time to myself. Seeing my children grow into near adults has shown me that there will be plenty of time for that soon enough.

For future Mother’s Days, I hope the girls will sit with me, not leave me alone. We’ll discuss the stories I read in the Sunday paper. They’ll update me on the latest details of the track team, the dance class, the party last night and the plans for the summer.

I’ll take the opportunity to hold little Sarah tight as long as she’ll let me, and see if the older girls need a hug, too. I’ll open their hand-made gifts and cards, oohing and aahing as always, with the realization that it won’t be long from now when I will be alone in that bed, waiting for the phone to ring with Mother’s Day wishes from college dorm rooms or distant cities.

We will spend the day together – a family hike, a picnic lunch (that someone other than me will pack this time) and dinner at the restaurant of my choice. We will be together. That is the gift I want on Mother’s Day from now on.

That and the gift card from my husband. Shopping can come later.

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