As a kid, Mother’s Day was all about loving my mother and telling her she’s awesome, getting her flowers or a nice gift, and having a nice dinner so she didn’t have to cook. It was a nice day where we made weird gifts in school. As a teenager, it was a day to force my brother to hand over some money for the shared gift between my siblings. I know my mom always appreciated it, but I didn’t really understand why it was a big deal.
That changed 21 years ago.
When Robyn became a mom, the holiday about flowers and cards and coupon books (when I didn’t have any money) became something more. It became an appreciation for her and what it took for her to carry that life inside her, what it meant to give up so much of her own comfort and put her own health at risk, and ultimately go through a heck of a lot of pain so I could hold my baby daughter and have everyone congratulate me. I suddenly realized that the minute she began carrying that life, she’d be caring for that life forever. Which means a nice card just isn’t going to be enough.
Today, Mother’s Day is a day where all of us (me and our four kids) remind her that we couldn’t do life without her. We need her, we are grateful for her, and yeah, that means she can say “I want this as my gift” and we get it. This holiday is about me understanding that without her sacrifice, the joy of four incredible kids would never be mine, and it’s me helping her children understand that, too.
But, even with all that importance, we don’t do Mother’s Day the way most people do. At our house, Mother’s Day isn’t really a “day off” for Robyn. She has always reminded me that without our kids, she wouldn’t get to celebrate the holiday. So we don’t usually send her off for a day of pampering by herself.
Instead of assuming she’ll want flower or cards or chocolate or another candle, we ask what she’d like to do. Some years, we’ve gone on a mini road trip for the day, one year we went touring in downtown Seattle and had hamburgers from Dick’s Drive In for the big meal. Last year we went to Disneyland. We create an adventure. Just like pretty much every other day we get as a family.
Here’s why: if we only make her feel special and appreciated one day out of the year, it won’t mean much. If we only make dinner once a year or do the cleaning once a year or buy her a card to tell her she’s special once a year, we aren’t doing it right. So, while Mother’s Day is the official reminder, we try to make sure and let her know this every single day. My kids’ mom is pretty much the most amazing woman who ever lived, and I’m not going to wait and tell her that one day a year.
Robyn is my favorite person. She’s an incredible mom. And all of us do our best, every day, to make sure she knows we think this. One day a year we add some cards and gifts, but to me, the best way to help her celebrate Mother’s Day is to make sure every day she knows: I am so incredibly thankful for her.