Saturday, May 11, 2013

This Is Mother's Day

There is a favorite picture I have of me and my mother. In it, I am probably around two years old. I have curls that look strikingly like Ruby’s and I am sitting on a large pink toilet, my tiny two year old feet dangling far above. I am looking with rapture at a story my mother is reading to me as she sits beside me on the pink tub that anchored our bathroom. She is barefoot and lost in the story. I love the way she looks nice but a little worn. One of her pant legs are rolled up, the other down. Her hair is done but her long sleeves are rumpled and pushed up as she rests on her elbows to read the book.

The moment is captured by my father through a crack in the doorway. I’m potty training and we are both totally absorbed in the decidedly un-instagram-worthy scene. I love noticing the lovely white curtains that framed our bathroom window, the perfectly vacuumed bathroom rug, the toy boat on the back of the toilet. I love looking at us as mother and child, totally lost and caught in a moment. If ever there was a way to feel it, to literally touch it: well to me, in every way, this picture feels like mother’s day.
Indeed as we approach another mother’s day, this picture seems in such sharp contrast to the way the holiday is increasingly presented. Through a barrage of snarky ecards and blog posts and targeted marketing ploys by company after company, the message seems clear: moms – spend a day that is designed to celebrate everything you are and everything you do every day, by doing none of it and with none of the people you do it with. It seems so strange; frankly, so unnatural.

Which is not to say that I don’t think all moms need a well deserved break, a pedicure, a few extra minutes on the toilet, asleep, brushing their teeth with only their thoughts and not an audience, drinking that first cup of coffee in its entirety at a table or snuggled in bed, not gulping it down in the midst of a shower. Most certainly moms need and deserve to take care of themselves but this should be a year round endeavor. Frankly, my toes cannot wait until mid-May. This momma’s feet needed a pedicure last week. I didn’t need a date on the calendar to treat myself and so I did.
But all of that, while super important, doesn’t feel like it has a strong correlation with celebrating the idea of mothering specifically. To me, that feels more about celebrating and reflecting with gratitude on the amazing people who I’m lucky enough to mother; to pay tribute to the amazing mother in my own life. It feels quiet and remarkably unfancy. Much like my pedicures, these moments may come and go but definitely pop up far more regularly than once a year.

And so it was this morning that we finally took the kids for that hike we’d been hoping to do for awhile. It was super non-taxing – mostly flat but the rolling hills seemed exceptionally green from all the rain. We felt farther away than we were. As we walked the rain started up again and we slowly made our way back to the car. It was strange that none of us felt compelled to rush given the inclement weather but it was just so amazingly quiet out there, that I think we were all just drinking in the contrast of the sharp colors and green with the smoothness and wetness in the air.  As we walked, Dylan took my hand, which is something I almost never get to do anymore with him now that he is five. Apparently 5 year old boys don’t hold hands. But this morning for some reason he did, and we walked that way for several minutes. I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. I saw Ruby on Phil’s shoulders. In every way, I felt grateful and special. I didn’t have to check the calendar. Clearly, it was mother’s day.

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