09 May 2013

What I Want For Mother's Day

Not that anyone asked, but I feel compelled to tell you what I want for Mother's Day.

First of all, I want someone to move that apostrophe. It's a day for mothers (plural) everywhere. I know it's usually spelled with the apostrophe before the "s," but that has never made sense to me. There are many, many women in the world who contribute, biologically or otherwise, to the raising of the next generation, and they deserve to share that day.

My material wants are pretty modest. I want a radio in my kitchen so I can have music (or NPR) while I cook or do the dishes. I already have a little TV in my kitchen, but I hardly ever watch it, and in any event, it's not the same thing. I'd also like a nifty set of knitting needles called Addi Turbo Lace Clicks, the "long" kind, because they have a feature that would be handy to me as a frequent lace knitter. (Specifically, the needle has a little notch in it that you can thread with a contrasting yarn, so that when you knit it automatically creates a "lifeline." A lifeline is just a brightly-colored strand of yarn run through the stitches of a row you know is correct. When you later mess up, you can rip out your messed-up rows neatly back to your lifeline, rather than agonizing and trying to figure out where you were and ending up ripping the whole thing out. I make lifelines now the old-fashioned way, with a darning needle. But how great it would be to have a tool that does it automatically for me!) And I'd like some new clothes to wear to my college reunion next month. And that's pretty much all I can think of.

A lot of my friends ask for vacations or spa trips or the chance to sleep late with their kids out of the house. They beg their spouses and children to just give them a day to themselves. No one bothering them. No one needling them. No one climbing into their bed or making a mess of their perfectly-ordered home. Just for one day.

I have a different perspective, though. I have loved every minute of motherhood, every single minute. I have loved the sick days and the well days, the rainy days and the sunny days, the midwinter blahs and the summer vacations. I have loved advocating for my kids' special needs, shepherding them around to all kinds of doctors and therapists. I have loved helping them discover their gifts and showing them how to nurture them. Sure, I've been tired and I've complained. I'm human. But I genuinely loved every single second of motherhood. I am going to cry my eyes out when my oldest daughter leaves for college this fall. (Did you hear? Mount Holyoke. I am button-bustingly proud.)

One of my friends, trying to console me after my pregnancy loss, told me, "It's just as well. If you had a baby, a year from now you'd be saying, 'What was I thinking?' All that screaming and crying and lost sleep. You don't want to start over again with that, do you?" Another friend bluntly told me that she was of the opinion that pregnancy in my forties was simply a major mistake that I and the rest of my family would certainly regret for years to come.

At first, when I heard these things, I was wounded, my pain compounded by a lack of understanding on the part of people I trusted deeply. I'm not glad it didn't work out. I regret nothing but the lost possibilities. I simply have to assume that anyone who thinks I'm crazy is just not the same kind of parent as I am. I don't hate diapers, late-night nursing sessions, stuffy noses, or plus-sized jeans. I don't mourn my pre-motherhood waistline. I don't curse at my children, complain about them in public, or wish their lives away. I adore them.

And the very last thing I want on Mother's Day is for my family to go away.

This Mother's Day, what I really want is a big, noisy mess. I want to be awakened in my bed by people who love me, bearing homemade cards and flowers picked from the garden and a cup of coffee that they made just for me. I want to be surrounded by family all day. I want to be reminded of what a wonderful blessing it is to be a mother, to be a woman, to be someone who is needed and loved and cared for, even as she needs and loves and cares for everyone else.

I don't think that's too much to ask.