Mother’s Day Eve

It’s the eve of Mother’s Day. I’m eight months pregnant, I have two toddlers, and tomorrow specifically, my husband will be away.

I don’t mind.

I don’t mind because Mother’s Day is a little bit of a weird holiday to me, especially since becoming a mother. I mean the gesture is nice, I guess: let’s have a special day on which Mama gets to have pancakes in bed, and get a pedicure, and whateverelseshewants, and let’s also tell her how much we appreciate her and maybe get her some flowers or something. But (and I’m talking as a mother of toddlers here, not teenagers or flown-the-coop-full-on-adults) I really enjoy the spontaneous effusions of affection my children give. I like it when they tell me their little I love you’s in their little voices, when they want to participate in things with me, when Young Lady insists Mama, you’re the best. And she means it, at least in that moment. She doesn’t always mean it. She won’t always mean it. But I like it when she says it and means it and I get the gift of hearing it.

What I really want is the kind of relationship with my kids — and the kind of character, frankly — that renders Mother’s Day meaningless, because I know where my kids are at with me, and I know that they love me and that I meaningfully add to their lives and that they see and appreciate what I have to give. I don’t want a special occasion so that they can announce to me once a year that I do a lot of things for them. I know that already. I want to feel like I know them, and our relationship, so well that a card on Mother’s Day is forgettable.

I want to be secure in their affection and regard for me. I want to be secure in my own regard for myself as a woman and a human and a mother. Right now, I am. Tomorrow I will need the normal number of kisses and hugs, but not extra. What I already get is plenty.

What I really want to do tomorrow is spend it thanking the women and mothers in my life (and in life) who have, through their superhuman powers of love, inspiration, knowledge, support, and belief, made me better, braver, more able to fail and get back up, to love harder, to forgive, to learn, to break and heal without ossifying, to laugh more, and to take myself less seriously and opportunities very seriously. The women who have helped me grow (up).

So many women have mothered me into myself, a person I’m kind of into lately. Near and far, friends and foes and social media personalities and colleagues and relatives and mentors. Gifts, every one. Tomorrow’s for you, boo.

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