Mother’s Day in 2015 started at 6am with hockey and soccer. There was a homemade, elaborate afternoon tea from Grace and a Minecraft firework show from Whit, new running glasses from Matt and family dinner by candelight. I’ve said goodbye to sippy cups, cribs, carseats, and naps, and hello to social media, not knowing which yoga pants are hers and which are mine, so much sports gear, and constantly figuring out where the borders and boundaries are. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that my every day is filtered through the lens of nostalgia and I can’t stop thinking that there are more days with them at home behind us than there are ahead of us. As I get older, the truth is I am certain of less, but one thing I know for sure is that family life is holy. Being with these two, and Matthew Russell, is absolutely sacred to me. What an enormous blessing it is, all of it, even with the exhaustion and crankiness and moodiness, even as the shadows of the teen years loom, even with all the endings and losses and farewells. There are still so many adventures to be had, and a memory bank so rich and full that I could live in it forever.
I shared this picture, and these words, on Instagram on the evening of Mother’s Day. It was a wonderful day, though not a perfect one. Is there any other kind of wonderful? Not in my life, there’s not. I was tired, and I still don’t feel 100% (though I’m much improved), and Whit fought me at bedtime. But there was also an early morning of heading out to various sports activities, and an impromptu visit with my own parents, which was very special for me, and both children decided, of their own accord and with no coaching from me, to give me presents that were experiences more than things. I love this so, so much.
Grace worked for days and then on Sunday afternoon for a while on an elaborate afternoon tea on the back porch. She had made brownies, tea sandwiches, and drinks in hand-painted mason jar water glasses. She made a big sign that said “Best Mum” and also made a garland and decorated stand for the sandwiches. It was absolutely adorable. We sat on the (tiny) back porch and chatted while enjoying our ice water, jelly beans, brownies, and sandwiches. I was and am floored by her thoughtfulness, her planning, her resourcefulness, and by 45 minutes I will never forget.
Whit made me a world. In Minecraft. It included signs on buildings that said “happy mother’s day,” a pig named (and labelled) “Lindsey,” and a fireworks show. He walked me through the world on our (only) television, because he somehow figured out how to project his laptop onto the screen. I was awestruck. It was so creative, and so personal, and took so much work. I watched the sunbursts of different-colored fireworks through tears.
I thought a lot on Sunday about my own matrilineage, but I also considered those friends of mine whose mothers are no longer with them (on this earth, that is). I have had dear friends lose their mothers, in some cases mothers who were my other-mothers. Part of what makes this moment on life’s ferris wheel so bittersweet is, of course, those losses, and their shadow over my life. Our children grow up, and we age, and so do our parents, and we all inch forward, taking a pew closer to the front of the church, to the end of the line. It’s so maudlin and negative to say that, I know, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t on my mind. My friends who had lost their mothers – and those mothers themselves – were strongly in my thoughts on Sunday.
So for all the laughter, and there was a lot of it (see below, two outtakes from the now-annual front-porch photo session) a faint vein of melancholy threaded through the day. Who am I kidding, though? That’s true of every day for me. Allelulias and farewells, endings and beginnings, firsts and lasts, another day on this magical, spinning ball. I’m both intensely aware of and fiercely grateful for all of it.
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