My mom and dad never cared for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. The biggest reason they gave was because it makes people feel sad for what they don’t have rather than what they do have. We always celebrate it for them anyway, but each year since as long as I can remember, they urge us not to make an extra effort. Some have lost their mothers, they remind me, or were never able to become one, and the list of complications can grow from there. I understood what they meant, but I feel it even more as an adult. Even still I loved the idea of carrying my mom a tray of breakfast in bed the same way I loved receiving mine this morning.
I find my empathy radar pretty high, though, as the media announces with trumpets that today is that day. My friend recently sent me a heart wrenching article about the most inconceivable motherhood situation, and it makes me at a loss for words at how all of this, this earthly construct we are in, works.
Tradition here or maybe mass media (or maybe because moms deep down just want to feel they are doing a good job and that they are appreciated) may contribute to disappointment since expectations tend to do that sometimes. I learned long ago that today is a day for the kids to feel they’ve done well by you, and you can celebrate yourself in the best way you know about yourself later on or in another way. Anything else is just a lovely surprise after that, which is the cure for expectation.
As this is a place where my motherhood reflections go, and as the world has kindly let me keep my rose-colored glasses, I stand by what I’ve written about here in the past about the subject. I believe, stronger than ever, that it is children who elicit the most surprises out of us. They make us pause; they force us to bloom for their sake. That I want to mark all of these days with short, folded corners is an understatement. And these little holidays or traditions can help stop time and reawaken a sentiment that can get lost in daily tasks.
But the most notable thing I noticed today was the sisterhood of text messages and phone calls that were exchanged. I sent more and received more Mother’s Day sentiments from the women in my life, and I found myself beginning the day doing the same. I searched my phone for pictures of some of my friends with their children (or the days without) so I could share it with them (a yelp of…look how far we’ve come!), and in turn walked on my own memory lane with old photos of the kids. When I talked to my mom later in the afternoon, she mentioned that her phone was ringing non-stop with little memes and messages, too.
From sending cheers to getting a pat on the back from a peer, the sisterly messages flowed. The day became an exchange of women nodding to each other like sisters in the street.
This day that has become a mother’s rite of passage in our society, a day demanding an expectation journey for each woman, has seasoned itself once again: today more than any year before was more about absolute female camaraderie, which may be a mark of changes. I saw it backstage at my elementary school daughter’s play where girls told each other “you got this” and wiped away each others’ nervous tears. I saw it today as friends checked in to see how the day felt or sent positive messages to each other.
This day became a sincere way where women served as the surprise for each other yet again, affirming what we see—how we see each other as motherly or as mothers—in one another, thereby bringing together an interesting dimension of this holiday.