Dear Husband and Sons,
Mother’s Day is around the corner and I know you (Husband) feel the pressure to fulfill expectations levied on you by both, Old Me and society. Mother’s Day is one of those Hallmark holidays you loathe, but always recognize. For the recognition, I am grateful, but let me release you from all expectations, because New Me doesn’t want anything you can buy. Boys, I love your handprint art and special gifts you make for me, but I don’t NEED these things. Don’t get me wrong, these things are appreciated and treasured (says the sentimental hoarder)…but not necessary.
To me, celebrating Mother’s Day is better than my birthday. If I never acknowledged another year of my life passing, that would be fine by me. (In fact, let’s agree that I’m forever 34.). Mother’s Day is different. It’s a rite of passage, becoming a mom, and a position I feel honored to hold. So, please let me take the pressure off you this year, and every year going forward. I don’t need THINGS. I don’t want STUFF.
There have been years you’ve surpassed any expectations I had – like my first Mother’s Day when you guys took me on a picnic and surprised me with a sweet card filled with one of the kindest messages I have ever received from someone. I have that card hidden in my desk drawer, pulling it out every so often so I can reread your words, Husband. Words of gratitude, encouragement, and love. Those words give me the strength to get through the difficult days and make me feel appreciated in a role that is so challenging, yet so rewarding. You guys also included a full spa day…which was pretty incredible! It was awesome and appreciated, and that first Mother’s Day will be a day I’ll never forget. Not because of the gifts given, but because of the time. Time stood still while we relaxed in the park, ate sandwiches someone else made, and enjoyed time together. No worries, no demands, no stress. Just time with my guys.
This Mother’s Day, what I really want is time. Time with my kids. Because what I’ve come to realize in the last five years as a mom is this…I’m losing time. No matter how hard I try, time is evading me. The face in the mirror that looks tired and aged is not mine. I don’t know where the 25 year old, energetic girl went. Time stole her.
Big Man – as I drive you to preschool, I can’t help but think that you should be the tiny boy learning to walk to me, babbling and grinning a gummy smile. Where did he go?
And Little Man – now you’re throwing balls and chasing after your big brother, but you should still be the wrinkly, tiny, needy baby that nestles into my neck for comfort. Time took him, too.
Instead, Big Man is reading books and riding scooters, pulling away from my hugs a little too quickly. And Little Man, although you still let me snuggle you, you’re quickly becoming too heavy for my arms. I struggle to hold your sleeping weight when I pace around your bedroom, comforting you in the middle of the night while you suffer from a double ear infection. You breathe against my neck, your hair brushing my cheek, and your long legs grazing the middle of my thighs because you’re so big. I know this will be one of those moments I remember for the rest of my life. I know it will be a moment I will miss in the very near future. Because time won’t slow down.
Time is taking my sweet babies and turning them into children who need and want me less each day. Soon you will be too embarrassed to jump in my arms for hugs after school or give me sloppy, wet kisses in front of your friends. You won’t need me to blow on your food to cool it, or beg me to read you a book before bed. You won’t need my help washing your hair or brushing your teeth. All the little things that “take away my time” from something else now – that seem like a burden in the moment, your requests and demands that frustrate me because in day-to-day life I get bogged down in the world around us and forget that YOU guys are the important things in life – will soon be a distant memory. I will blink and you will be leaving us.
This home, now filled with noise, laughter, and strange smells will someday be quiet and empty. One day in the near future, I won’t have anyone to complain about – to tell for the 500th time to pick up their cars and curse everytime I step on a Lego. I won’t have milk cups to fill EVERY time I sit down to enjoy dinner. I won’t have pee on every inch of the toilet seat. (Ok, that one I might not miss.) I won’t hear voices crying out for me in the middle of the night because Big Man had a bad dream or Little Man woke up sick. My role as “mom” will slowly, but oh-so-quickly (too quickly), shift. I will be needed and wanted less and less. The role I was born to fill and wanted my whole life will not come to an end, but will change. My babies will be grown and I will be old. Time. She’s an evil witch. And she’s breaking my heart.
So, this and every Mother’s Day, I want the gift of time. Time with my babies, time with my husband, time as a family, and time for myself. I want time to stand still for just a bit, set aside the demands of life, and just tell that witch “Time” to shove-off. I want the chance to be selfish and hog time for myself – for us. I want an evening out with you, Husband, just the two of us, to celebrate the life we’ve built together. To celebrate the love we share that made me a mom. That is the best gift you’ve ever given to me. I want to celebrate that…with you.
I want a “day of nothing” with my family. I want to play without worry or responsibility. I want to throw out the strict schedule I keep us on and just enjoy each other. Let’s forego ceremonious celebrations and stuffy restaurants and enjoy a picnic in the park with to-go sandwiches. Because let’s be honest, forcing you all into “fancy” clothes and going to a restaurant for brunch that you boys will waste while we continually wrestle you in your chairs, begging you to stop throwing food on the ground while you screech at everyone around us (Little Man), and getting up to take you to the bathroom and remind you we can hear you without your YELLING voice…is not enjoyable for anyone. So, let’s not torture ourselves. It sounds awful. Instead, I want to get dirty, laugh, say “yes” to your requests, and make memories with the three people I love the most in this world. I want you to remember this day as much as I will.
And finally, I want time to myself. I want a day to remember who I am outside of this role. It’s a blessing and a gift to be a mom, but it is so freakin’ exhausting, too. I would love to be selfish for just a few hours. I want the chance to grab coffee by myself, get a pedicure and be pampered, and maybe even take myself shopping for a new swimsuit to lay poolside with a good book for a bit of quiet and relaxation. Maybe I’ll even end the day with a quiet, too-long bubble bath and a glass (or two) of wine. A day without demands, a day to get refreshed and fill my cup so I can return to motherhood ready to fill everyone’s cups with the energy and joy from my own…it sounds so blissful!
Don’t get me wrong…flowers, a day at the spa, homemade gifts are always appreciated and so thoughtful. A card with reassuring words is wonderful…as is the farting unicorn card I got last year, albeit *slightly* less sentimental than in years past, but hilariously appropriate in this stage of life. I love that you recognize this day at all. Thank you for always remembering and acknowledging it…for me. Thank you for giving me the gift of Motherhood. Thank you for continually supporting me in this role. This year, let’s celebrate all of these things by stepping back and just…being. Let’s celebrate the family we created with a day of love, laughter, and time.