A Day of My Own

The Next Family

By: Tanya Ward Goodman

At the outset, Mother’s Day was a challenge for my children.  It wasn’t that they didn’t get into the spirit.  They dutifully (and joyfully) drew beautiful cards and created a heart-shaped brooch of cardboard covered with buttons.  They showered me with kisses and held my hand even when we weren’t crossing the street.  But at a certain point (not so very far into it), they tired of it being my day.

“I’m not sure I’m such a fan of Mother’s Day,” my son said.  “I mean, it’s a lot about Mom.”

“Did you know that today is Panda-Panda’s birthday,” my daughter wondered.  She held up a small stuffed panda with bulging green eyes.

“Today? Mother’s Day?” I asked.

“Today.  He’d like a cake.”

“I’m reading the paper,” I said.

“Panda is very disappointed,” my daughter said.

I tried very hard to remain firm.  My husband encouraged me to relish my freedom.  He shooed the kids from the dining room and poured me another cup of coffee.  In his own nod to “my day”, he refrained from wondering if I would ever get in the shower so we could get to brunch on time.

Eventually, I did shower and we piled in the car and headed to a fancy place to eat fancy food with our reasonably tidy children. It was a bit of an experiment.  Our last Mother’s Day brunch at a real restaurant was at least three years ago and it was not the mimosas that left us with a headache.

This time, however, the kids were on excellent behavior.  They sat mostly still for a meal that ran on “adult” time.  They cheerfully ate all manner of challenging fare (Morels! Asparagus! Burrata!). They kept their napkins in their laps and their elbows off the table.  Our fellow diners smiled appreciatively and we smiled back.

At the end of the meal, we realized that we hadn’t seen any kids the size of our kids.  Of course there were families with tiny babies tucked into bucket car seats (more accessory than child) and families with sedate near-adult children, but we were the only family with walking, talking elementary-aged kids.  We congratulated ourselves for venturing back into the world of brunch.

And then we headed down the beach to the Santa Monica Pier and took a ride on the roller coaster.

As our car took the spiral turns, my daughter’s hair blew into my face, her warm little body smushed against my own and our shared laughter travelled into the blue, blue sky.

It was good to be a Mom.

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