This week my husband cringed when he realized he had booked skydiving instruction on Mother's Day. I told him not to worry, that I don't need a Hallmark holiday to celebrate my motherhood. If we lived near family, we would gather and indulge in one of those long, slow afternoons of barbecue and good conversation, but since we don't, and kids still need to be fed, bathed, monitored, and nurtured, this day is really like any other. And that's fine.
What my husband doesn't realize is that his gift to me today is really one of silent responsibility and maturity. His day at the drop zone--on a Sunday when we are usually free to be a family of four--is another installment payment on the much-needed vacation we just enjoyed, a vacation in which I was not asked to pay for one iota. It was not my responsibility to barter with travel agents, compare online deals, plan, map, chart, or cough up a dime. And he organized this trip knowing what we could afford and did not put us into debt beyond what a set of teaching weekends could reimburse.
Mother's Day is a relative concept for many of us. Some mothers prefer an afternoon break from the rigors of child rearing. Others rather the company of their children as a reminder of our chosen role. While I sometimes get irritable from being plagued with children's needs and their endless questions, I would rather my day be near my children with them behaving--a tall order in itself. This morning, I received that gift from them--an extra hour to lie in bed and read while they ate a little breakfast snack downstairs without fighting. And in lieu of the standard floral bouquet a mother might receive, I was given something with greater sustainability: a subscription to the New Yorker.
So today, after church, should weather allow, I will enjoy Frisbee with kids, a picnic, and playtime with the dog. My husband will join us for dinner at a restaurant that has been cited as having the best crab cake in town. I'll call my own mom, whose shoes I try to fill on a daily basis with my own little folk. (I just told her she was a perfect mom and she did not believe me, but it really takes a mom to know what her own mother did and why.) But most of all, I'll just be thankful. For everything.
Happy Mother's Day!