Why this year was different

My birthday and Mother’s Day always fall together as they are both in the second week of May. This year, the year of Covid-19, they fell a day apart. Mother’s Day on Sunday, my birthday on Monday. My husband and children find this overwhelming and extremely stressful as they need to be nice to me and celebrate me for TWO days! They need to buy me TWO cards! They need to fill out and find TWO nice things to say about me! The horror of it all! They are always sure to hail me with birthday wishes but they are not big on presents, flowers or over the top gestures or sentiments.

Did I ever wake wondering if the house was full of flowers? Yes.

Did I wonder if there would be a surprise party later with all my friends loving me and making me feel special? Yep.

Did I secretly hope that the kids would do something outrageously creative and special for me? Ya bet.

Please understand, I am NOT complaining and I cringe in embarrassment as I write these words. Today, in the cold, hard light of it not being Mother’s Day or my birthday, I can see where my “expectations” led me to needless and unwarranted dissatisfaction. But I cannot deny the feelings I would have. I would shake my head to clear out the thoughts and desires and put on a smile but deep down inside…

I guess it’s time to call bullshit on myself. Ok...here it is...I WANTED BIG! I WANTED OVER THE FREAKIN TOP! I WANTED PARADES AND SKYWRITING! I WANTED TO FEEL SPECIAL! I WANTED TO FEEL APPRECIATED! I WANTED TO BE SEEN! If i can't get TWO days in a row, just give me one.

I got nice Happy Birthdays wishes but I didn’t really hear them, secretly looking over my shoulder to see if… To mask this deep and “shameful” desire, I have always made special plans for myself. I have established rituals and traditions to take care of my own needs. I kept myself busy with scheduling breakfasts, outings, lunches, coffees and activities. I have extended family in many Countries and spent a large chunk of my day reading texts, emails and Facebook Posts and listening to voice messages. I kept myself too “busy “to answer any of them and too busy to stop and enjoy them or to feel my feelings. Instead I spent my time running from event to event, phone call to phone call, text to text looking for even one crumb of what I needed.

Now you know my secret. You have read the title of this blog. You might be asking, so… why was this year different? Let me explain.

This year, because of Covid, there would be no running around, there would be no keeping “busy”, no distractions from feelings and deep seated desires. On the Saturday before Mother’s Day I meditated on this. I understood the situation and accepted that this year, for sure, there would be nothing more than a few warm wishes to have “a great day”. I was ready and prepared and quite pleased with myself for being so mature and dealing with the perceived “lack” that was to be.

I woke up on Mother’s Day and my husband smiled at me. A real genuine “I am happy to see you smile”. He handed me a card and kissed me. I saw the smile. I felt the warmth. I absorbed his genuine happiness to see me. I sensed the quiet pride with which he handed me his card. All this hit me in the stomach with the force of a punch. I felt seen. I felt special. I felt loved. I stayed in bed and read the card. It was amazing. Truly, the card to end all cards. It said everything that a mother wants to hear from her co-parent. I was blown away with the love and feeling behind the card. Wow! He really stepped up. All of a sudden, a tiny voice spoke in my head. I went into my closet for my box of cards saved from years past. In the quiet of the house and nowhere to run to I sat and re read the cards. They were ALL like this one. Sweet, loving and complimentary. This year wasn't special or different at all. The only thing that was different was that I actually stopped Expecting and started Experiencing. The love, the compliments, the appreciation was always there. I was just too busy wanting and expecting more. I sat on the floor just reveling in the feelings of being appreciated. I heard the kids stirring and soon an 18 year old and a 22 year old were jumping on me, kissing me all over and yelling “Happy Mama’s Day”! I looked into their smiling shining faces and saw the love. I heard the sweet words and believed them. I felt it in every part of my being. They saw me. They appreciated me. They loved me. The smiles and the kisses and the love were enough. I barely registered the card they handed me. I didn’t even read it until hours later. Who needs a card? Not once did I wonder if there was anything more. I didn’t need more. For the rest of that day, I noticed that every time that I looked at one of them, they would answer my look with a smile. Do they always do that? The day was quiet, peaceful and uneventful. I can’t even remember what we did. The day was perfect. Love filled the house.

Now, remember, the next day was my birthday. The day started the same way. Sweet smiles, loving warm wishes and kisses. We four, sat around all day talking and laughing. I picked up the phone each time it rang and TALKED to the person calling to wish me well. They were as surprised as I was to actually talk to me. It was fun to catch up with family and friends around the world. I took the moment and answered every single text and email. I wrote back a thoughtful note thanking every one for thinking of me and for making me feel appreciated and special. And I really did. Each warm wish made me so happy and each one meant the world to me. I do not go on Facebook much and I never write or post on there but I was so surprised and touched by people remembering me and taking the time to wish me well. Each post found a special place in the heart and I answered each well wisher. The day was perfect.

Not because anybody did anything more than any other year. There was just those early morning greetings and two cards but I felt as though Barbra Streisand had knocked on my door to sing me a song, as if I had been named Mother of the Year at a White House Ceremony, as if I had won the lottery and an Academy Award and all because in the silence and stillness of Covid I saw, felt and heard all the love that I needed to fill all my desires. With nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, I stood proud and still ,drinking in what was mine. It has always been and will always be enough.