I remember when my daughter was a year and a half, my hub took her with him on a Father’s Day 5k run. That morning and early afternoon I had the whole house to myself and I felt so free that Father’s Day turned out to be my Mother’s Day. I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only mom out there that feels like Mother’s Day should be re-named “Me” Day. Sometimes I feel like Mother’s Day could be even better if I just took the day off from being a mother.
My original post for this week was about the thoughtful Mother’s Day pinches that we receive versus the thoughtful Mother’s Day pinches that we want. But recently, when I reminisced with my friend Sarina about her Mother’s Day tradition my heart felt too full and I wanted to do something with the information. So I put that original post aside and followed my heart instead.
The first time I learned about Sarina’s Mother’s Day tradition is when I attended one of her workshops. She told the group that she doesn’t spend Mother’s Day with her children and I remember feeling totally jealous. At the same time, I felt awful for feeling jealous. Why didn’t I want to spend the day that cherishes the role of being a mother with my children? Well, I tried to spend a couple of hours without them on a Mother’s Day years ago. I met some mom friends in the rose garden by a Minneapolis lake on a glorious day in May. The entire time I was there, I tried not to worry that my hub and my kids needed me. In fact, they were driving around the lake waiting for me to finish a wonderful two hour retreat lead by my friend Rachel. So yeah, I was jealous of Sarina.
The story goes like this: Sarina’s mom and her mom’s bestie decided to honor Mother’s Day in their own special way. Instead of cooking and taking care of their kids, these two met near an apple tree in a park and drank champagne together (without kids) on Mother’s Day morning almost three decades ago. They began inviting other women to join them for this event and soon a small group faithfully met every Mother’s Day - rain, sleet, snow and sunshine. Eventually the daughters became mothers so they started coming every year also. They added wonderful food to accompany the champagne and the women started bringing small, homemade gifts for each other. Well, the daughters started having granddaughters and so the group continues to grow. Sarina shared with me that in those thirty years, one of the mothers lost a daughter, there were divorces and other losses - including Sarina’s mother’s memory to Alzheimers.
I think these mothers made such a difference when they began this tradition thirty years ago. It was a very simple movement. It could have started out as a fun way to feel free like I felt on that Father’s Day years ago. Or maybe these mothers wanted to make a bold statement in order to be an example for their daughters - raising them to honor the “me” in motherhood. Whatever the motives were that began such a lovely, annual gathering - it began by being thoughtful for themselves and for the mothers in their lives.
My heart is a little heavy because Sarina’s mom is now in a nursing home so she won’t be joining them this year. In the scenario that I keep replaying over and over in my head, I can feel the warmth of these women. I picture a long, welcoming table with food and small gifts. Crisp champagne and hearty conversations. There is strength within this small group. So when I heard about this tradition for the second time, I noticed that my jealousy was no longer about wishing that I could get away from my children on Mother’s Day but now feeling jealous that these mothers are consistent in honoring the “me” within themselves. Even though Sarina and her sister will not attend the event this year, I feel like they will always have the opportunity to honor themselves and come back to this amazing group when they are ready.