I’m finding myself a bit scattered about what I want to say on Mother’s Day this year. While I love the idea of a day that’s meant for celebrating mothers who are so rarely thanked for all they do, I find it to be a rather bittersweet holiday. Much like Valentine’s Day can be hard for people who long to be in a relationship with someone, Mother’s Day can be very hard for those who want so badly to be mothers. And while I’ve been fortunate enough to be the recipient of Mother's Day cards, flowers, hugs and kisses for five years now, my heart still aches for everyone hoping and praying to celebrate it themselves one day- those waiting to receive smudgy cards with little handprints and cheesy poems, to be served breakfast in bed by excited little ones, to be handed a beautiful yellow flower (aka dandelion) because it’s a special day for Mama.
And so I think that Mother’s Day should be a day to celebrate all sorts of “mothers.” Mothers of young children, mothers of grown children, mothers who have lost children, mothers who have given children for adoption, foster mothers, adoptive mothers, mothers-in-law, mothers to be, those who hope to be mothers, and those who are like a mother to someone. They all deserve flowers and tight squeezy hugs around the neck and extra kisses.
Good friends of ours asked me last week if I could come over yesterday to take some photos for them of their daughter heading off to her prom. Given that I normally photograph crying babies and fidgety preschoolers I was a bit nervous to say yes (and hello pressure! Prom photos are big-time stuff!) but agreed to take a stab at it for them.
When I arrived the whole house was in a tizzy. Mom and Dad were setting out snacks and drinks as the boyfriend’s parents were coming over too. Younger Brother and Sister were running around with wild abandon. And Big Sister was getting more and more fidgety and excited as the time came closer for the doorbell to ring. She looked gorgeous, absolutely perfect, and I tried to stay in the background and capture the looks on everyone's faces at this momentous event.
After some photos with the family, some fake tears from Dad about his little girl growing up, and some real tears from Mom and Big Sister (and the sappy photographer), a car pulled up outside and everyone started yelling, “He’s here! He’s here!!” And then, there they were, all grown up, pinning on boutonnieres and corsages, exchanging little smiles while the parents looked on.
For Mom and Dad, this was the first of four children to go to prom. For the boyfriend’s parents, it was the last of three. And for me, it was a glimpse into a future that’s coming all too quickly. I know that I will blink and it will suddenly be LP heading out in a tux to prom, or Eliza waiting at the door for a date to arrive. And Paul and I will be standing in the background, looking on at how grown our children have become.
As I was leaving, I caught Dad in the garage on my way out. He looked at me and said, in all seriousness (which, if you know him you know that seriousness is a pretty rare commodity), “I remember the day she was born. It seems like just yesterday. It goes so quickly.”
Today, Mother’s Day, we spent quietly at home. I was given some beautiful potted plants, pictures were colored just for me, LP signed his card “PL” with a crayon, and I was lucky enough to go to the Y to exercise without children in tow. We spent the afternoon working on a sticker book, editing photos, playing games. At one point the sun peeked through the clouds and we all went outside for an inaugural pajama-clad ride on Eliza’s new swing. In our house, it was a momentous event, one that Paul and I know will be replaced before we know it by prom dates and driver’s licenses and college acceptance letters.
But for now, they’re little. And swinging in your pajamas is as big and as exciting as it gets…
Happy Mother’s Day to all!