Motherhood starts, to most of us, with tears of joy and physical pain. It’s a moment of self sacrifice for the life of something you now cherish more than yourself. The badge of motherhood is not a easy badge to earn, right from the start. Today of all days, is a cherished day for mothers. It is a day mom’s are supposed to lazily lay in bed while their children serve them burnt french toast, reheated coffee and home-made cards. My daughter was the queen of home-made cards. She would grab all the craft supplies, the glitter the card stock, the stickers and left over pictures and lock herself in her room, usually the morning of the event, and make magic. Her one goal seems to be to upstage her sisters in notes and cards. She always pulled through. She knew the secret to the card was not the card itself, but the words inside, though glitter bombs never hurt.
On Mother’s day the house would be insanely loud. I would hear bathroom doors slam and threats of injury promised if one of the other three siblings tried to come in. Someone would be yelling for their favorite matching shoes or sweater. For whatever reason, no one thought to find all these items the night before. I usually had multiple sweaters in white and black with shoes to match in every size. When my four girls were little, my mother-in-law made matching gingham dresses and until I couldn’t force them anymore, they wore coordinating colors. There were always piles of white and black tights in a basket that eventually turned in leggings as the girls got older. I never thought much about what I would wear to church and to brunch, I would just be happy we made it out of the house in one piece and not horribly late.
My husband would sit in his chair, waiting for a bathroom to clear out, hop in and out of the shower in five minutes with car keys in hand. My favorite part of these holidays was not where we went, but having my family all together in one spot, even if by force as they got older. Not much trumps Mother’s Day. The teenagers could not run off to be with people their own age, they were stuck with me. Even as they got older they managed to make sure they were free that Sunday morning, even with work most of the time. My oldest in college would drive the four and a half hours home, knowing I would want her to.
I sat in the bathroom gathering hair products and tools yesterday for a friend’s daughter for prom. As I gathered the supplies, the quiet of the house hit me. I imagines the sounds of a holiday morning of years past, of the yelling from room to room looking for their lost precious items. Elbowing each other over in front of the bathroom mirrors. The younger girls asking the older girls for help with their outfits. My daughter that has left us, always came out of her room looking like a movie star. It never mattered where we were all going. She knew from about three years old how to add the sparkle to whatever she was wearing. I let myself imagine for a moment, popping down the stairs, looking fabulous, holding her newly made sparkly cards.
I tried to plan ahead today, Mother’s Day. something different from church and brunch. I knew I would have a horrible day, put more importantly, my other daughters would have a horrible day if I didn’t think ahead. My oldest was still away at college today, unable to come back after all the recent weekends that she has made the trip. The four of us are going to a sold out sporting event. It will be fun, and it will be a distraction and nothing the four of us have done on this day all together. I will not sit and look at and empty spot in the long church pew, or an empty seat at our brunch table, but for now, I sit in the early morning, observing the quietness of the house. I am thankful for all those Mother’s Days, I am thankful for Mother’s Days to come and how they will forever be different. I am thankful for the other mothers that have been placed in my life that have also lost a most precious part of themselves, reminding me I am not alone. Today is the day we wear our badge of honor and sacrifice. I am thankful for realizing what is most important in this lifetime. It’s the connections, the small moments, and the memories we leave behind and the ones that we build together that matter most.