I’m Not Looking Forwards to Mother’s Day

Full disclosure. I am not looking forward to Mother’s Day. It is a complicated day for many and not the Hallmark holiday that is offered. To all those feeling this way, I see you, I feel the pain. I send you warmth and so much love this entire weekend where you are surrounded by reminders of the holiday.

My first mother’s day was idyllic. James was seven months old and just as squishy and adorable as could be. He and his dad “made” me breakfast and we ate it outside on the most perfect spring day North Carolina had to offer. Blue skies. White, wispy clouds. Light breezes coming and going. Birds chirping. Colorful flowers lining our backyard. I received a few gifts that I wanted to make my diaper bag less of a mess but the ultimate gift was the activity I did with James. We made a painting together of his and my hand prints and foot prints. It was a mess! Paint everywhere. I was laughing. He was giggling. It was the most perfect moment motherhood could offer.

Many Mother’s Days that followed when my kids were young young were precious like that, with fun art activities or family activities where we laughed and connected. When my boys entered elementary school and started writing, the Mother’s Days cards just melted my heart. The misspellings were perfect. The sentiments perfect. The paper flowers or paper hearts, perfect. The cards were always such a nice touch to whatever was planned at home. Thank goodness for teachers.

I always felt loved and appreciated and the day was always special.

I got divorced two weeks or so before Mother’s Day.
Mother’s Day hasn’t been the same since.
It just hasn’t.

In the early years of the divorce, when the boys were younger and the schools still talked about Mother’s Day, it went better. Like I said, thank goodness for teachers. Those cards saved Mother’s Day for me. I knew that because of teachers, I would get a card on Mother’s Day. I knew that my boys would remember to say “Happy Mother’s Day.” I knew that I would get one hand-made gift wrapped in tissue paper. I knew that I would have a moment of special on a tough day.

And during those earlier years and now, to my ex’s credit, he worked with my boys to remind them and help them get cards and gifts. My boyfriend has also stepped in and done the same but…things just are working out differently, especially as they have gotten older. I know it “should” be easier because they are older, because perhaps they “should” take on the desire to do things on their own, but….It’s complicated. Thinks aren’t always as simple as they seem.

Add on the dimension of my boys bickering more because again, older, and well there hasn’t been a Mother’s Day without massive fighting that I can remember. (“Happy Mother’s Day! I hope it is peaceful!” people wish me. Yeah, right.) I am guessing the bickering is also partly because of the underlying reminder that there parents are divorced – holidays are still tough for some of my boys. That is okay. I feel that. I GET THAT. They just are. They are very clear reminders of very specific memories of togetherness as family. Even though the days were centered around me, Mother’s Day for us comes from being a family, from having a mom and dad that were together.

Like I said, Mother’s Day is complicated.
And not just for me.
It is for many of us, for a variety of reasons.

I know Sunday will have sweet moments. And I know it will have moments of sadness, of wishing it were slightly different. And I know people are reading this and are going, “Girl. It isn’t about presents or cards or yada yada.” I know that. I am well aware of that and I agree wholeheartedly. I don’t even need Mother’s Day per say but it sure is nice to have one day to help my kiddos recognize all I do, do!

And also, Mother’s Day is still hard because it is full of GRIEF.
Loss. Sadness. Pain.

There is loss of how the day used to go and pain in the fact that now I am the one asking my kids if they need help getting a card or anything. I know if I don’t ask, if I don’t give the loving reminder, the day will come and nothing will happen because again, things have changed and it’s complicated. I know my boys, they are good kids with loving, huge, well-intentioned, hearts and they would be devastated if they forgot or did nothing. (There are factors at play I am not sharing so please do not judge why I am having to give the loving reminder given their ages.)

Again, Mother’s Day is complicated.

I am planning for the ups and downs of emotions so that I can make the most out of it – so that I can find the JOY in the day and move on from the complicated, from the inevitable disappointments, from the guaranteed frustration from sibling fighting.

I have allowed myself to feel the pain – the real pain.
I have allowed myself to think and say the thoughts that are taboo – that I am not looking forward to the day.
And now, I am shifting my mindset, my expectations.
I have spent the last few days re-envisioning Mother’s Day.
I see fighting in the afternoon. I am ready for that. It is part of the picture. I expect it so when it happens I won’t be disappointed! It is part of the plan!

And I see four beautiful boys that made me mom. That’s it. Well, that’s more than it. That’s A LOT. They are the ultimate gift and my expectation is to be with them, fighting and all. Because they remind me that I get to be a mom. No pomp and circumstance around it. Four reminders that I have the honor to be their mom. And I lied. They ARE pomp and circumstance, just in their existence – they are a celebration of motherhood.

If being with them leads to actually playing some of the family games as I have requested, win. If we have a peaceful meal together, double win. But I am dropping those expectations so that I can be in a BETTER PLACE going into Sunday so that I can enjoy what the day offers, instead of what it doesn’t.

Sending warmth, strength and peace to all struggling this Mother’s Day weekend. You aren’t alone. I see you and I am thinking of you.

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