So ironic that on a day celebrating Mother's, cherishing us, giving us a momentarily reprieve with bouquet filled brunches, glittered cards, and coupon books galore.... I could not get to my computer until 8:57 pm.
Hello single mama-hood.
I somehow missed the brunch invite this year. And while there was darling hand painted cards filled with such sentiments as "Dear Mom, I like you when you are sweet and nice. Here are emojis for you." Insert an emoji with a halo. An emoji with bacon and eggs. And an angry emoji. Go figure. My six year old daughter has perfectly captured our recent emotions and breakfast choices.
Shoot. Speaking of breakfast, there are breakfast dishes still in my sink. (Insert curse word $&*#!! It's going to be brutal tomorrow scrubbing my Ninja blender free of Acai purple-caked-on smoothie).
There is a lone yellow lego taunting me in the middle of the kitchen floor. There are a pair of children's size 11 high top black Vans, that I so lovingly reminded Ryker to put in the shoe bin, tossed right in front of the stairs. Like hello death wish. Just waiting for someone to trip on.
And there are two little peanuts asleep in my king sized bed, in a perfect T-shaped pile of tanned limbs, super hero pillows, and zero room for mom.
Yet, here I sit feeling the urge to write. To connect. To say hey, mamas of all walks. I've been there. I am there. To the mamas with husbands that cooked them breakfast and children who gave you coupon books, cherish it. Send massive heaps of gratitude for it. I was once you. For the moms with partners there, but not really there... ohh that's a void itself that stings with a perpetual ache. I've been there. For the mamas, perhaps being faced with the first mother's day singular, I was you as well. I am you still. And for us mamas that face each mother's day without our own to lean on and into... I have been you since before Blake was born.
It's a doozy. Motherhood. All of it. With or without a partner. With or without our mother to help us. There are moments that make us cry. Moments that make us rejoice (7 pm bedtimes). There are moments that make us laugh. Like when the ex-husband, whom you really do co-parent beautifully with, drops off the kids with a present in hand from the kids. Wrapped with copious amounts of pink tissue paper. And placed in a brand new Victoria Secret bag. And your present, a lovely blueberry scented candle and picture frame, from the kids is not from Victoria Secret. All you can do is chuckle.
Trust me when I say I do not write the above without pause. Motherhood is hard enough and you throw in some dramatic life changes... well, yes, mamas now is the time you really, really want your own mom. You know that feeling all too well. The urge to pick up the phone to call your mom...so you don't pick up something else and throw it in utter frustration.
A few days ago, Blake and I were at our usual stomping grounds aka Target. The card aisle was particularly crowded. Miss Blake has a certain inclination towards stationary, pastel colored card stock, and pink glittered note cards… so, of course, we were browsing with the rest of harried shoppers looking for that perfect Mother’s Day card.
Blake let out a big sigh. Her tan, slender fingers reached for mine. “I wish your mom was here so we could buy her a card.” Her words were filled with such sentiment. And six year old longing for a $8 over-priced and overly flowered and poem-filled card.
“Oh sweetheart, I wish so too…” And not just a card. I wish for the connection. The chatter. The advice. Oh, yes the sweet motherly advice that only your own can give. The reminders. The hugs. The trips to Nordstrom to find the newest wine colored lip gloss. The practical and the impractical.
Seeing a crowded card aisle can hit hard for us mamas without our own moms. And as single moms, not often getting the just recognition for the extent of every school lunch packed, bedtime done solo, and sleepless night without a partner to pass off little puking Johnny to... how we would love a card, or seven, saying hey, I see you. I know its hard. It's going to be okay. Somehow, someway, you've got this.
The Good Lord saw fit for me to have such compadres that do such for me. The encouraging texts. The emails. The phone calls. The visits. The random chocolate chip cookies on my doorstep. (Whoever you are, you are destined for sainthood. And I love you crazy). All lighting up my day(s) reminding me of the positive. Gritting their teeth with me in the ridiculous actions of humankind array.
One of my all time favorite emails came to me a few days after I found out about my then-husband's affair, Katie wrote out a practical to-do list in order to get my home in order to be sold. She included "EAT DONUTS. DRINK CHAMPAGNE." on the very top of the list. She gets me. Get a Katie in your life. And some donuts. They both help.
We can pep talk ourselves into a grand speech about the wonderful memories we got to once have and how we should be grateful for them. But really. C'mon now, memories are grand but can't always sustain us. Or pay the bills either. Goodness knows we may have even been told to move on already, in either state of emotional loss of a partner or a mother. But you know what mamas, this time, just let yourself pause. Buy that card for your mama. Write in it. Buy that card for yourself. Write in it for your children. Give yourself permission to feel. If we don't, well, therein we may miss out on finding true peace and gratitude.
Each holiday whether a week since our loss, or decades after, can hit us in a whole new way. I by no means advocate self-pity or wallowing in a state of perpetual sadness, but how often do we rush? We rush everything. We rush our children to school. We rush our relationships to look and feel a certain way. We rush ourselves to heal before we are ready. Guilty on all counts.
We even rush this day. This day honoring Mother's. Just one day?! Hmmm... so mamas, why not make a day to honor yourself in this magical, beautiful role, a lifetime practice. Yes, a lifetime practice. Honor yourself. Cherish yourself. Really soak up this role. The kind, (we hope) well-meaning old lady in supermarket often reminds us "Cherish each day with your children, it goes by too fast." Hmmm, again. Maybe replace "day" with yourself. Cherish yourself.
Do you think we can do that? I think so!
Cherish yourself enough to take a break.
Cherish yourself. Honor yourself. I keep repeating myself. You get it. Add it to your list. Book an epic vacation, whether that involves oversees travel or a one night staycation with your bestie. The white sandy beaches of Phuket is on my list this July. It's happening. Somehow, someway. The ticket got booked amongst the launch of this biz and shuffling the kids to school and dance practices. How often do we tell our kids, "if you want something bad enough, work for it, make it happen!"
My fellow Type-A mamas, I know you have a list. But let's make it a Katie-style list. One where Champagne and sprinkled donuts top it. Because the ride of motherhood does go by too fast, but unlike most rides it never ends. We will always be mamas. Whether there is a ring on our fingers, a mom of our own physically in our corner, or whether we are doing this as solo as one can get, motherhood is worth the celebration.
This celebration. This sense of honor and self-care, well, dear mamas, that is one gift I surely hope to pass on to my own daughter and son. I tell my kiddos daily, hourly, "Choose Kindess." Let's do that for ourselves! Daily. Hourly. Therein we will find our true peace. And maybe, just maybe feel the joy that miss Blake radiates each day as she loves to flash the peace sign and say "Ryker, feel some more peace or you are going to have a rough day." True story.
That girl, she gets it.
Dear Blake Emery & Ryker Paisan, mama is tired, slightly worn (okay VERY worn), but I could not be happier to have been made your mama. Thank you for showing me what it means to celebrate life! XO