Mother's Day was pretty much off my radar until late last week. I don't do a lot of shopping and I rarely frequent stores where you might see cards, knick-knacks, etc... being sold for Mother's Day. And I hadn't read blogs for a couple weeks, my usual "what's going on in the world" outlet.
We didn't make any special plans. I'm not big on special plans for Mother's Day anyway. Special plans usually involve a lot of thinking on my part (being the maestro of family parties and hospitality) and I don't like surprises, which makes it hard for my family to make secret plans for me.
It was already Saturday afternoon before we gave much thought to the next day. It was Mother's Day so I was told I could do whatever I wanted. I wanted to be with my family in the outdoors. That's what we do on Sundays. I look forward to that during the week and I'm a routine loving girl.
I wanted to spend the day being together, unplugged (this is getting harder and harder it seems between our online interests and our kids' computer pursuits). I wanted to have a family breakfast. And other than making breakfast pancakes, I didn't want to cook. I was almost shooed out of the kitchen while making pancakes but that was something I wanted to do. And I'm allowed to do what I want on Mother's Day, right?
After breakfast, we packed up and Damien made a quick lunch for the trail. Our usual easy mix of beans, rice and salsa. (Some of our trail recipes were recently featured in the A.T. Journeys Magazine, the official magazine of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.) We were out the door before noon with no stress, another request for Mother's Day, and were able to spend the better part of the afternoon on the trail.
We are still finding our hiking legs after a winter of skiing and this is the first hike we've done this spring where snow and ice weren't an issue. I haven't shared any photos from the last month and a half of hiking. Imagine evergreens, melting snow and ice, and crazy carpets (a fun way down the mountain).
I love being in the woods with my family and as it started to rain I marveled a bit at how Mother's Days have changed for me over the years.
I remember very clearly the way I felt twelve years ago on Mother's Day. Laurent was a colicky three month old and Céline was not quite two years old. On that Mother's Day, what I wanted more than anything, was a break from motherhood. Just for one day I didn't want to be needed so much by the little people in my life.
I got through that day; the worst part was the expectation. I was used to being needed 24/7 and had adapted quite well to life as a mom to young children but you expect on Mother's Day to maybe get a break, but not that Mother's Day. Three month old babies don't give their mamas a break!
Yesterday I didn't want a break from my family at all. The only thing I wanted a break from was cooking, which I got. We splurged for supper out.
Over the years I've wanted different things for Mother's Day. A day for gardening used to be a popular request.
These days there's no garden in my life and I don't even want one. What I wanted for Mother's Day was to be in the woods, even in the rain.
While we were hiking yesterday we were talking about this, my personal growth through the years of family hiking. Brienne recalled the times "you cried on the trail and we just waited for you". Oh yes, I remember those times clearly. Not each and every one of course. They are a montage of memories from a couple years of intense personal transformation as I surrendered myself to the weekly practice of hiking.
Yep, you read that right, I surrendered myself. I love the outdoors. I chose to spend Mother's Day hiking, in the mist and rain with my family, because I love doing that. I didn't always love that. But I grew into it.
I remember the years I wanted nothing more than to scrapbook, sew, and garden in my free time. Now I like being in the woods, hiking, and taking photos. And I don't consider those "free time" activities either. They're just part of my life. As much as cooking, writing, and homeschooling.
I've grown into a lot of things. And just like with kids' clothing, "growing in" usually means "growing out" of something else.
I'm growing into mothering young adults and have said goodbye to the early years. I've grown into adventurous living and closed the chapter on "staying put".
With each growth stage I open my hands to something beautiful and life altering. And in grabbing hold I have to let go of old patterns and expectations.
I get to keep my memories with me, and oh how I treasure those, but I don't live those same experiences over and over (nor would I want to). I get to live new ones. I get to be alive in new and exciting ways.
Mother's Day, a day with lots of memories, helps me mark my changes as a mother and a woman through the years.
I'm thankful for where I've been. I love where I am. I'm excited for where I'm going.
I think that's a pretty good Mother's Day gift in itself.