I stayed in bed because I knew I was supposed to.  I pretended to sleep through the whispered arguments and the clanking of dishes.   I peeked out from under the covers to see her proudly carrying the cookie sheet with her Mother’s Day display.  I successfully feigned waking up rested and delighted to the breakfast prepared in my honor.   How I choked down that very full bowl of soggy Special K, I will never know.

My daughters, who were 9 and 7 that year, were trying their very best to make my Mother’s Day memorable.  And they did.  I will never forget this one.

Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that carries with it expectations.  It is a day to acknowledge mothers for all that they are to the people in their lives.  When I grew up, I was taught it was a day to let mom rest and to do everything she wanted without fuss but with a lot of fanfare.  There was breakfast in bed, gifts, flowers, and no complaining.

In my married household, my daughters were taught the same thing.  However my single household has often sheltered a lot of heartache on this day.  The part of heartache that is mine to bear is not the soggy cereal.  It is observing the heartache I see in the faces of my daughters.

My daughters are without the means and resources to do special things for me on Mother’s Day.  They do not have money to buy gifts, they cannot drive themselves to pick up a card, and as noted – their cooking skills are in need of further development.  I can see how desperately they want to acknowledge me.  How they want to do for me what they see their school friends doing for their moms on Instagram.

As Mother’s Day approaches this year, I have been reflecting on how best to support us on this day.  I have realized that just like I needed to make a shift to take on more parenting when I became a single mom, so too do I need to make a shift now.  I need to toss out my old Mother’s Day ways of waiting in bed under the covers and be an active participant.

I need to plan activities we can do together that they know with certainty I am nothing but delighted in doing with them.  I need to empower all of us to focus on what Mother’s Day means to us.  Resting and roses has very little to do with it.  Instead, it has everything to do with spending the day being their mother.  So excuse me, while I sign off to go make plans for a love-filled day with my daughters.

Angela Dunne

CategoryDoing Divorce