Mother's Day is one of those manufactured holidays that, over time, has come to feel very...well...manufactured.
Not that I have anything against honoring moms. (Or dads, for that matter.) And not that I don't enjoy having an excuse to tell my mother I appreciate her. Or to spend time with my fabulous son, without whom I wouldn't actually be a mother. It's just that I'm one of those people who believes that we don't need a Hallmark holiday to tell us when to express our gratitude for our loved ones.
This year, I'm also keenly aware of the impact this holiday has on those who can no longer speak to or visit with their moms. Jim and several of my friends have lost their mothers in the past few months. For them, this is a day filled with sadness. An occasion to be endured. I don't think Hallmark has a card for that.
Thinking about their losses, I was reminded of how blessed I am to have my mom in my life. I also decided that one way to override that "manufactured" feeling was to be as fully present in the day as possible. So I soaked in the glorious sunshine. Savored the heady perfume as Jim and I made our annual trek to smell the lilacs at Skylands. Listened with compassion as my mom went on about her newest health issues. Relished a cheeseburger (and waffle fries!) at BLT Burger in NYC with Jake. Saw the unexpected shutdown of the PATH trains in Hoboken as a gift of more time with him--instead of a major inconvenience.
But it was when Jake surprised me with a bouquet of flowers that I felt that rush of pure emotion: joy mixed with pride topped with "wow." That's when I realized that Mother's Day is like any other day: we get to decide how we're going to experience it.