By Alison Cupp Relyea
Mother’s Day is approaching, and each year we have this one day to reflect on the tender moments of motherhood. Not all moments of motherhood are joyous and beautiful, but they are all part of whole portrait, an all-encompassing experience that has changed each mother’s life since that first day a child entered her world. Mother’s Day is the perfect opportunity to pause and enjoy life’s imperfections.
Mother’s Day, like many holidays, can be marked by high expectations and disappointment, but only if you focus on the gifts and plans rather than the meaning behind the day. My two most memorable Mother’s Days were my first one, nine years ago, and my most recent one last year. Neither day was extraordinary; in fact, what I remember most about these days was that they were ordinary, and spoke to finding the joy in the small moments of mothering.
In May 2009, my husband and I were planning to spend our first Mother’s Day as parents at a wedding in Arizona, leaving our nine-month-old son Robert with his grandparents. We would celebrate as a family the following weekend. Of course, life had other plans, and our son had his first fever on the Friday before the wedding. I left work at 1pm, weekend bag in hand, but rather than meet my husband at the airport, I gathered Robert from daycare and headed home to our apartment. As soon as I felt his hot little body, I knew we would be spending Mother’s Day together after all, just the two of us. By Sunday Robert was feeling better, and I remember going for a long walk with him in my Ergo carrier, playing in Madison Square Park and napping together at home afterward.
My most recent Mother’s Day had a different kind of spontaneity to it. It was a gorgeous day, and around lunchtime, we decided to go for a hike along the Hudson River with our neighbors. Being outdoors and watching my three children, so independent now as they explored the woods and held hands with friends, brought me more joy than any gift could give. In a world where time moves too quickly, a hike in the woods gave me a chance to be present with my children, holding tight to that fleeting moment for as long as possible.
That first Mother’s Day taught me a valuable lesson. Life can change at any moment, and since many of the changes will be out of my control, I have no choice but to adjust and embrace the new path. Last year’s Mother’s Day, I learned that we need time to pause and spend time together, and sometimes having no plans can lead to new adventures. Motherhood is about connecting with your children and following their lead. It is about treasuring the smallest moments and marveling at their simplicity. This Mother’s Day, we hope you will make your own memories and celebrate the miracles and gifts that define you as a mother.
Photo: My first mother's day 9 years ago