Happy Mother's Day!
I am a lover of all celebrations. My pals laugh at my visions of magical setups for any reason to celebrate. Except - I am actually no fan of Mother's Day.
I think I am going on my sixth mother's day because a mom starts to celebrate when those sweet baby kicks are there. My first son was actually due on Mother's Day in 2013. I hoped he would come, as I was Shallow Hal swollen and uncomfortable, but mostly, because I thought a baby in my arms on my first mother's day would be a pretty sweet gift. Cole, as always, had his own plan in mind; I got my gift two days after.
Each year thereafter the kiddies have found a way to thwart my plans for my "special" day. Although my hubby tries to make the day sweet, the boys' naps, demands, or preferences seem to form the plan. This year, I decided there was no plan - in fact, I forgot to even close out my flower appointment schedule. So - I'm booked up with appointments anyway and will enjoy my flowers quietly while dad probably does the grandma visits.
But yesterday, something magical happened. Most of you know, I work in my flower workshop in the middle of the night. Around 3 a.m., I was working on one of my last proofs with my friend (a stay-at-home mom who doesn't mind helping me out in the middle of the night so she can enjoy her children during the day), and I couldn't find the special stem wrap for the last bouquet I was working on.
When flowers come to me, I take pictures and baggie up all special items. When some items are extra super special, I often stash them in my special angel drawer so that I can check on them if someone asks. Marissa's stems were wrapped with her angel mom's wedding dress, garter, and a rose gold memory charm with childhood picture of the bride and her mom. Although I knew I wouldn't sleep until I found it, I had an eerie sense of calmness looking for it. My friend was worried when she left me to go home, but by 5 a.m., Marissa's special items were in my hands; turns out, I forgot they would be in my special drawer.
Marissa's mom has actually taught me two lessons. Last night - trust myself and stay calm. I knew for certain she would pop up. But before my hunt, she also taught me about my role in motherhood. A few months back, I offered free angel appearance portrait services to a handful of brides who lost a parent. I asked a graphic artist to blend the angel back into the wedding family portrait with the missing link. Marissa's was hard to do because the quality of her mom's picture was hard to work with. I asked her if she had anything better, and she said she didn't really have many pictures of her mom because her mom was always taking the pictures, so her children now treasure any of the few they have of her. Lesson 2: get in the picture for them.
Those angel appearance portraits are absolute magic, especially for a bride who is facing mother's day - or her wedding - without her mom. One of the most special stories I remember working on was for Angela, who lost her mom the year of her wedding in a car crash, on the same road I frequent. Many parts of her wedding incorporated her mom. Her rings were her moms, the location they took pictures was her mom and dad's spot - so many special details that I got to display. One of the most important pieces was that she hung her mom's ashes from her bouquet, and LEFT THEM WITH ME. For the year of working on the flowers, I kept mom right on my workbench in plain sight, so I knew exactly where she was at all times. Her angel appearance portraits are out of this world.
So after my 5 a.m. flower shift was over, when I got up at 7 to get Cole ready for school, I wasn't quite sure how I was going to survive the morning to get Cole out the door. I snuggled next to him and asked if he wanted to stay home. Usually, he will always want to go to school, but today he said that he could use a break.
Turns out, we all could have used a break.
The boys decided, after watching a YouTube show, we should go to the aquarium to find hammerhead sharks. I thought we could all use an outing, as we haven't done much since we bought the flower shop - and it ended up being a pretty magical pretend mother's day.
The calming music, my boys wonderment, the sun, the quiet car ride - it was unplanned perfection. In fact, although I kept my phone away the entire time, afraid I would start to look at the wedding season slew of missed calls, appointment bookings, and emails of questions, I did take it out to take some pictures of us, with me, in my most favorite spot there: the sea lion cave - because Marissa's mom reminded me I should.
I think it's also a little magical to hear my boys already engrained with their idea of family. We saw a family of giant crabs: Dats the daddy one, mama? Dats the mommy. Dats the baby. The seal lions: dad, mom, baby. Seems in my little guys' heads a family is made up of small, medium, and large. It's a pretty simple theory that doesn't always quite work but also made me understand some of my lonely feelings lately.
Last weekend, my husband was gone on a track trip (he coaches and is gone a lot during the spring season, which is why a lot of you meet me while I am changing a diaper or battling a superhero - or dealing with a tantrum from my three-year-old human resource manager). He'll be gone next week too. May is hard and overwhelming for us because we are in the midst of so much: work, track championships and shop construction for dad and college finals week, full fledge wedding season, Cole's birthday, and general mom world for me. And my heart is just sad without our big, medium, small combo in full effect when dad's gone. And it's just a small reminder of how so many of my clients feel with their missing link.
When we got home, I had an evening pickup for one of those clients for special yellow roses headed home for Mother's Day. I explain to anyone who sees these flowers that these roses did not come from a florist, they came from heaven, as this mom after my own heart sent them after her death. This mom put my planning skills to shame, and I have already started taking notes from her to up my game.
She will forever be a heroic supermom in my eyes, as she planned every little detail of her funeral for her family. She decided her theme slogan, her own mantra for her family: "Remember me as loving you." She wrote out messages to be read at her service, which included her key line, and arranged the yellow flower delivery schedule for after the services were over so these magical flowers would appear when her kids needed them most. Of course, the bouquet came with her message again: remember me as loving you. And isn't that so mom-ish. As you approach death, to be more worried about everyone else. As you enter heaven, to be more worried about your babies on earth. I can only imagine the other treats she will be sending her children, and I am honored to have gotten my hands on an actual piece of paradise.
So I suppose the moral here is sometimes, there is beauty in the unplanned - but the planned details can be magical too. Perhaps we just should embrace both, the happy medium of momhood.
Happy Mother's Day! Hope your plans do or don't come true!