mother's day. every day.

i've written before about how i find it a little distasteful that we need a national 'holiday' to celebrate our mothers. that it takes a commercial creation to set aside a day just for us. 'be good to your mom today—it's mother's day' seems a confusing lesson to teach our children when we tell them all year round 'be good to your mom—it's the right thing to do'. and yet, mother's day rolls around and every year and i play into the hype. i have expectations of a day with no quarreling and handmade cards delivered to me in bed. (i pretend that it's for them but you won't tell, right?)

this year circumstances took one of my children to vermont with his father and the other across town with his father and i found myself alone on mother's day morning. now, i know some of you are thinking: a morning alone? that's the perfect mother's day gift—bliss. while i'm sure others among you are feeling terribly sorry for me. and, frankly, you'd all have it right. of course i wished i was with my children. but was i looking forward to some quiet time? hell yes. so when the phone rang at seven-thirty and woke me (quite possibly the latest i've slept in a year) i was not pleased. when it was my husband telling me that he was on the way to the emergency room with my toddler, well, you can imagine.

as the day wore on my worry turned to anxiety and, at moments, sheer panic (the words maxillofacial and surgeon do not soothe a nervous mother) all i wanted was to hold my baby. i'll inject here that this accident was minor. his injuries were minor. he is fine. i understood this and i heard it in my husband's voice. but i wanted to see my baby. i needed to see my baby.

at some point i stopped feeling sorry for myself though, and lamenting about my sucky mother's day, and i realized that what i was experiencing was actually the perfect mother's day. a celebration of what mother's do every day of our lives. we hold our children in our hearts and minds, in our bodies. we feel them with every ounce of our lifeblood. we have to. nothing brings us more joy or more pain and there isn't any other way we would have it. and i know i speak for all of us on this.

that i had to worry until i could hold him in my arms? that i couldn't breathe fully until i saw for myself what i already knew to be true? that is mother's day. that is my every day.