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The Ever-Morphing Mother's Day

I remember as a child looking at
Mother’s Day with bewilderment; what, exactly, is THAT all
about? Tell Mom you love her, let her pick where we eat lunch,
yadda yadda yadda. Doesn’t that make EVERY day Mother’s

Now, of course, I have a different perspective, but it’s
still kinda weird to me. I mean, I enjoy my kids making me the
cards, and getting to go someplace nice for dinner, but my children
are still young enough that I see evidence every day of their love:
I get the snuggles and cuddles and kisses almost constantly, and so
don’t need a special day set aside for them to shower me with

I need a day of rest from that affection.

Every year, Brian asks me what I want most
for Mother’s Day, knowing it will somehow involve some time
away from the kids. When the girls were babies, Mother’s Day
meant going a whole day without changing any diapers or poopy
onesies. When the girls moved to toddlerhood, Mother’s Day
was a blissful Sunday spent without doing one single food prep: the
endless mountains of diced strawberries and quartered grapes and
cubed turkey were all kindly prepared by my wonderful husband.

And if I’m being 100% honest, Mother’s Day thus far has
meant at least a small amount of time away from the children.

I remember a Mother’s Day that had to be turned into a
Mother’s Weekend because Cora’s separation anxiety was
so severe I couldn’t be gone more than a couple hours without
her freaking out. So I’d go have lunch with a friend, come
home for a few hours, go to a bookstore by myself, come home for
the night, spend lunch the next day with my mom, come home for a
few hours, and so on. It’s much better now, thankfully, and
so I’m able to get some time away more easily these days.

But as I prepared for Mother’s Day this year, I reflected on
how my needs as a mother have changed. I no longer need a break
from the physical labor of getting the girls ready: they are more
self-sufficient and don’t wear me down nearly as much.
Likewise, food preparation is vastly easier – especially if
it involves paying someone to cook it. No pureeing, no leaving
untested foods out, no dicing, no worries. Even the physical
contact isn’t as overwhelming as it has been in the past:
Cora’s separation anxiety has gotten better and I don’t
feel so physically smothered by her any more. And on the
need-time-to-myself front, Maddie’s in school and
Cora’s quite capable of playing by herself throughout the
day, so I don’t feel nearly as tapped-out as I used to be in
years past.

So this year we had a low-key weekend, wonderfully pulled off by my
awesome hubby. We hit my favorite used bookstore on Saturday and
Brian took the girls to the huge kids’ section THE ENTIRE
TIME while I was left free to browse without interruption. Sunday
after church I had time to take my own mother out for lunch and go
shopping with her for a couple hours – grown-up shopping, in
fancy stores with nary a mouse or fairy in sight. And then Sunday
evening the girls consented to taking us out to a fantastic Chinese
restaurant for dinner; the girls got crazy dressed up, and handled
a restaurant without crayons or coloring mats with rare good humor.

What did I feel I needed a break from the most this year? Hands
down, being the moderator in the girls’ battles and temper
tantrums. The constant discussing and negotiating and explaining
and nose-breathing patience can light my fuse pretty quickly, and
hearing Brian speak up and help out in that department was a huge

As I look forward to the next few years, I’m thinking
I’ll be feeling more of the same: as my girls grow up, they
need me less for physical help and more for emotional guidance. So
I can see how this will be my new “break” for
Mother’s Day.

And as I see them grow in independence, I can even see a day
– far, far off in the future – when I’ll need
Mother’s Day to remind them to cuddle their mommy.


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