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Elissa Stein

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A Real Mother's Day

Posted: 05/07/10 11:39 PM ET

I wanted to write a Mother's Day piece about the joys and pitfalls of motherhood, but I'm too tired, having just spent the past 3 hours monitoring a Nerf dart tag battle that moved from my living room, through the hallway outside our apartment, to the basement playroom and back while coordinating regular and fresh mozzarella pizza options and orders. Dealing with fries, ketchup, water, ice spills, ice cream cake on the floor, mediating sporadic sibling battles with a dash of a birthday-child-power-trip thrown in. I'm stealing a hard-to-think moment during Big Time Rush, the scream-filled new Nick show to jot down some thoughts before the inevitable birthday/sugar crash and probable meltdown.

Just got a fuzzy blanket and water request. Be right back.

Sorry it took so long. Had to do a quick search for the second Harry Potter and a missing toothbrush.

Today I read a blog post about the pain of Mother's Day for someone who can't be a biological mother. The writer had been trying for years to conceive and was finally accepting pregnancy wasn't in her cards. Her childhood memories of making pancakes for her own mother, decorating handmade cards, spending the lazy afternoon with grandmothers and aunts and cousins who traveled to be together stung as she and her husband had only each other. How it hurt to be in restaurants watching families celebrate. How much she missed her own mother, who was thousands of miles away. How the rituals of the day, the ceremony, the formal cards and flowers were salt on her very raw wounds. I had such a hard time leaving a comment, and ended up just thanking her for her honesty in sharing feelings most of us don't hear.

It got me thinking about the institution of Mother's Day. I'm not a supporter -- not of the traditional Hallmark way we're supposed to celebrate. I'm not looking for cards or gifts. I don't want a fancy brunch, a corsage, to have to dress up. I have no expectations (well, almost none) of a crisp and shiny day of family perfection with me as the adored queen, perched on a pedestal.

My mother's day is every day.

When my kids say thank you with no prompting. Hold the door for someone instead of barreling through. When they give a seat on the bus to the mom with the toddler and stroller who looks too tired to carry both.

When Jack asks to read to me every night.

When Izzy hugs me in front of her friends.

When they smile at me in the yard after school.

When they tell me that they love me. Whether or not I said it first.

It's not that one day that counts. It's the experience.

 
 
 

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