Another Mother's Day has passed, and as the brunches, flowers, handmade signs and cheerful photos of moms and families fade from my Facebook feed, I'm reflecting on how different my Single Mother's Day looked from my friends', and for the first time since divorcing almost 3 years ago, I'm okay with it.
When I first separated, holidays were unbearable. Any holiday without my son practically broke my heart, and seeing intact families celebrating Valentine's Day, Halloween, even President's Day seemed weighted and sad, even though I knew my son was having a blast with his dad. I felt like a part of my body was missing. Cue the melodrama.
Cut to now--my first Mother's Day without my son. It was his dad's weekend, and we try to be respectful of our set times with our son. He's let me have K on past Mother's Days but I'm taking K on vacation soon and using some of his dad's days, so it all works out. After divorce, holidays become more arbitrary, simply because they have to. I try to make the most our time together, holiday or not, but still, what's a single mother to do on Mother's Day?
I decided to reclaim mother's day for myself, and not just the day, the whole weekend. No one had to take me out to brunch. No one had to buy me flowers. No one had to invite single "Auntie Di" to join their family celebrations. My son made a card for me at preschool and sang me a song. That's good enough for me.
Mother's Day Ladies' Night! To kick off the weekend, I threw a pre-mothers' day dinner party for my closest girlfriends, because, as we all know, not all mothers wish to celebrate motherhood WITH their children all the time. One of the biggest indulgences as a parent is spending adult time with your girlfriends, drinking wine into the wee hours of the morning. Surrounding ourselves with candles, twinkling lights, beautiful food and smiles, my tribe of girlfriends, most of whom I've had the honor of knowing for the better part of 20 years, filled my home with love, laughter and camaraderie as mothers, daughters, women and friends. Motherhood is great, but even greater when reflected by the women who've seen you through dating, working, marriage, divorce, child-bearing, illness, thick and thin. It's easy to remember who you are around the women who know you best, and still love you.
Saturday disappeared nursing a hangover from aforementioned wine drinking and love-fest, and then it was Mother's Day. After an initial pang of missing my son, but not much more than I normally feel on his dad's weekends, I headed off to my favorite Sunday morning ballet class. Afterwards, I called K. He told me that he made a card for me at daddy's house with "two flowers, one cupcake, a coral reef and stickers." My heart melted. He was thinking of me. I told him, "K, I just wanted to tell you how much I love being your mommy." Silence on the other end. I hear his dad prompting him to say something. K replied with an exuberant, "Thank you!" as only a four-year-old can deliver. We had a big belly laugh and I wished them all (including dad's new girlfriend) a happy weekend telling K I'll see him tomorrow.
Then my day began. What's a child-free mom to do on Mother's Day? Spa? Shopping? Not in the mood. I decided to explore Los Angeles as if I were a tourist. I took the train downtown (yes, we actually have public transit here in Los Angeles) and had a culinary adventure, letting my appetite and my curiosity guide me. After a day of wandering wherever my heart desired, my spirit and my tummy were filled, and I had gained a new vantage point. Not just on the city I live in, but on what Mother's Day means to me. It's not only about being honored by family, but about honoring yourself. I did miss my son, but was able to savor my time without him, recharging and relaxing, so that when I pick him up at school and he runs into my arms it will be all the sweeter. A culinary adventure should include pie! @thepieholela
Hope you all had a happy Mother's Day! How did you spend yours?
-Diane Mizota, Host of This Week in M.O.M