Mother’s Day evokes images of mom being served breakfast in bed, surrounded by flowers and homemade gifts from her children. And that is fantastic, but that is not the reality for most moms. The reality (based on my informal poll of moms that I know) is more of a mixed bag: gifts (homemade or store-bought), meals (breakfast in bed, at a diner, dinner out), some other family activity, and hopefully a respite from laundry and all the other mundane things that occupy so much of our time.
Personally, and I know that I’m in the minority, but I enjoy spending part of the day by myself (this year, I’m kicking it off with a 5k run). I feel like this is where I’m supposed to write wistfully about how I spend my alone time reflecting on the virtues of motherhood and how very fortunate I am to have my beautiful family. Except that isn’t what happens. I do love my family. I feel extremely fortunate and grateful to have them, but I don’t spend that time counting my blessings. Moments of solitude are so precious and few, that I spend whatever time I have that day soaking it up. I usually go to a movie. No, not some blockbuster that I’ve been waiting for weeks to see. I go and see whatever happens to be starting at the time I arrive. It doesn’t matter what it is. In fact, if it’s an unpopular movie that will yield a nearly empty theater, that’s even better. Then I spend that hour and a half letting my brain shut down. I don’t have to talk. I don’t have to listen (unless I want to). I don’t have to wipe anyone’s bottom. I decompress as fully as is possible.
Then, when whatever window of time has passed, I take a deep breath and go home. I hug my kids, kiss their round faces, and smell their sweet heads (or if they are more funky than sweet, perhaps throw them in the tub). I set about the business of loving them, and feeding them, and caring for them, only with a little more patience and a lot more gratitude.