When I was little, I didn't realize Mother's Day was a happy holiday. Yes, I made my mom a pencil holder, homemade card, paper link bracelet...and so on. When she woke up, I made her happy by giving them to her along with hugs and kisses. And then the happy part was over. Every mother's day we would go to the very crowded cemetery in Brooklyn to "visit" my grandmother who I was named after, that I had never met. My father would get extremely emotional as I sat by her headstone which had my full name on it. Often we would buy her favorite purple flowers and the scent would linger on my fingers. My father was proud that someone had thought ahead and purchased a little bench with the family's last name carved in it. Once we returned home, we went along our day without much fanfare.
(Mother's Day 2015: My Daddy always brings me flowers...)
Everything would change years later - when I became a mother with my first born, my son Chase. I felt guilty no longer attending to our ritual and still had residue sadness. But it was two and a half years later when I gave birth a week before Mother's Day to my daughter, that things truly turned. I was draped in flowers from my husband, and now homemade gifts from my son. My parents came over with huge smiles on their face. I remember the unfamiliar feeling of this holiday coupled with pure joy. My mother and I held the little cherub and there we were, three generations of women.
(Mother's Day 2009. Lexia (2) and Chase (4))
She was happy to surrender over this holiday to me. And though I showered her with love as well, I really couldn't fault her for it. We dressed my Lexia literally from head to toe and headed toward a beautiful brunch in Long Island. My mother spent the meal oohing and ahhing and taking turns holding her. When we got home we exchanged cards and I spent the day basking under her glow. There was just no question...this was what Mother's Day was...this was true bliss. And it was also my last mother's day with my mother. She passed away the following March.
When I questioned in full sincerity if we should visit my mother on Mother's Day and the ones that followed, Peter, my husband, simply said that this was a way the children can say thank you to you. Let it be all about us celebrating you. I felt a bit guilty for a long time. And then as they got older I understood, their happiness was tied to mine. And I haven't looked back. Well, maybe a glance, but I have firmly decided that Mother's Day would go down as a happy memory in my home. The children wake me up with gifts and flowers (or as they get older, greet me after they have slept in a little). Presents have included original songs, dances, magic shows, and videos. And then we all celebrate it at a gorgeous spot for brunch.
(Mother's Day 2016)
How do you celebrate Mother's Day? We would love to know. Please leave your comments below!