Last week, just like every week before Mother's Day, Shane asked me what I wanted for Mother's Day. And I replied, just like I do every year: nothing. I have everything that I need.
This year, I meant it more than ever. This week I walked the streets of Pleasant Grove, Alabama. I'd seen the footage of one of the many towns where the tornadoes tore through, but seeing it in person is totally different, a heartbreaking Technicolor.
I usually say I don't want anything for Mother's Day. But this year I mean it. When I pulled into my garage after reporting in Pleasant Grove, I had a new appreciation for the walls. Inside was my family: my husband, my healthy little son, and two pugs wagging their tails.
What else could I ask for?
Something else about Mother's Day. I feel strange being feted on this day for a number of reasons. First, it's an honor and privilege to have a kid. It's always felt odd to be celebrated for that. After all, he's the one who is really the gift.
I don't mean to downplay my role as a mom (and certainly don't mean to downplay anyone else's). But instead of breakfast in bed one day out of the year, I'd rather be supported every day as a mom. This means something different for everyone, but for me it means knowing that my family has my back when I have to work long hours, or be gone from them for days at a time.
And they support me when I want to be gone for days at a time, like a few weeks ago when I had the chance to go to New York for the weekend. I came home, asked Shane if he was cool with it, and in a few days I was walking through the West Village.
Mother's Day happens when they are there after I've come home from a community event or Tweetup, excited to share the stories of the new people I've connected with, going on and on about some new project while the dishes sit in the sink. (I'm not good at dishes.)
It happens when, after I kiss my son goodnight, I have to get on a conference call to talk about a non-profit meeting and Shane carries Nate to bed.
Mother's Day happens when my whole family says, "We believe in you." This includes my parents, who are a vital part of the village it takes for me to function as a mom. From watching Nate the first year of his life to being there for countless after school pickups and spend the night parties, they go beyond the role of grandparents.
It happens when the people who care for me say, "you're doing too much," and encourage me to take a rest.
Mother's Day happens when I can be myself and still be loved. It happened this past year when my family let me bring home a scrappy rescue pug, and each night my husband cooked dinner (every night), and when my friends listened to me drone on and on about how hard it is to Do It All. That was all Mother's Day.
So, today I will have brunch with my family and honor my Mom. I will remember my grandmothers. I will go home and work on the shower I'll throw my sister in a week to honor her impending motherhood.
And I'll start another year of Mother's Days.