This Sunday is Mother’s Day, and we still don’t have a plan.
My mom reminded me tonight of how my daughter used to hand her a book upside down and ask her to read it. My mom was mystified each time. If she turned the book right side up, my little girl would inevitably stomp her foot or grunt and turn it back the way she wanted it. Or, my mom reminded me, she would grab it back, put it on a shelf and bring a different book for my mom to read.
She needed to have things the way she needed to have them (still does), but she’s often willing to try and try again.
After I got off the phone with my mom, I remembered when my little girl one day laid all her books end-to-end on the living room floor. It took her close to an hour. Then she walked on them, gleefully hiking along her new self-made path. I didn’t know whether to screech about her blatant disrespect for the books or applaud her innovative use of the tools at hand. I praised her innovation. She beamed with pride.
I imagine my mother has memories, too, when she gets off the phone with me. But it’s me at five talking to all those big boys on bicycles she remembers, or me coming home to tell her how cool it was my best friend’s name was Wendy when it was windy in the cul de sac in California where we’d just moved. Windy and Wendy: It was a sign. I didn’t say it that way, but my mom understood. Maybe it was a sign for her, too.
Windy and Wendy. A self-made path of books.
Now my tea kettle is whistling. I pour boiling water into a tiny cup and set the timer for four minutes. My old boss, a Nigerian barrister whose tea I steeped at 10:30 a.m. every time she came into town, preferred three minutes, but my stepmom preferred four.
The women who’ve shaped me are many and powerful.
The women shaping my daughter are many and powerful, too. Hallmark and the news media don’t remind me to thank most of them, but I must. Every day, I’m grateful for these women in our lives — my daughter’s older sister, grandmas, teachers, aunties. Birth mom, foster mom, elder foster sister. Brownie leaders. After-school care counselors. We are who we are in our family because of these women whose care and attention sustain us. (There are men, too, whose influence may be found later in another post, but today, it’s all about the girls.)
My tea is ready.
And still, we need a plan for Sunday.
Mother’s Day is to celebrate what I love doing most — Being that kid’s mom. Isn’t she adorable in my hat, boots and vest, holding her snack bowl with my over-sized gloves? Here are some possibilities:
- Pull out the old photo albums, the ones I made before going back to work full-time. Reminisce about the early days of parenting.
- Soak in a hot bath alone with lavender oils. Sip tea from a cup on the side of the tub.
- Play “monster.” Chase my growing girl around the park with an ailing arthritic knee.
- Scramble eggs and make pancakes. Spread nutella on pancakes. Make and drink a pot of tea.
- Unwrap all the art and cards we’ve made for one another. Giggle. Hug.
My daughter pulled out her “amazing discovery for adopted children” book last night, the one where a young heroine learns that these fingertips she’s now wiggling are the same fingertips that touched her birthmom’s belly from the inside. Forever Fingerprints, it’s called. I haven’t seen it for at least a year, but my daughter and I have discovered and re-discovered this book together, this fact, this simple truth, for years now, and it is amazing every time.
Here are some other ways we may spend our day:
- Draw a special picture for my daughter’s birth mom. Make a special card. Put it in a box my daughter can save and add to as she wishes … or misses … her.
- Wonder aloud which traits my daughter has inherited from her birthparents.
- Find President Obama’s speech in support of gay marriage and watch it together.
- Imagine how different our country will look and feel when our girls are as old as we are now, with children and jobs and pastimes of their own.
- Go out for ice cream.
- Make our own ice cream and lick every last drop from our cups or cones.
- Drink more tea.
- Fall asleep happy.
If we fall asleep happy, and make tea, it will have been a good day.
Happy Mother’s Day!