For many years, my literal translation for Mother’s Day was, “where dreams go to die.”
This is because I have found that the majority of women, like me, end up disappointed in some fashion. The vision they had for the day pales in comparison to the reality faced.
Or perhaps this is particularly true for the mothers of all boys.
By marrying one of three boys, I knew there was a strong chance that daughters were not in my future.
Shopping dates or afternoon pedicures and teas were most likely not going to encompass quality time with my children. Yet, knowing this and realizing the subtle nuances of this fact were two very different things indeed. These nuances are never more apparent than on Mother’s Day.
When my boys were younger, my request each Mother’s Day was to sleep in for an hour or two followed by coffee and the Sunday paper in bed.
My husband would dutifully arise with the boys and close the bedroom doors with a crap-ton of misplaced hope of shutting out the chaos.
That closed door was an invitation to set up shop outside with toys, books and breakfast remnants.
One year, two of my young sons argued about which one was being the loudest, ended up wrestling and tumbling into the bedroom door until I finally opened it and they landed at my feet. Even as their good intentions rammed head-on against my wishes, it was hard to stay mad at them; they had tried after all.
I received all manner of gifts the boys crafted at school, most of which were covered with black or brown paint featuring a sports theme. The closest we came to spring flowers or anything feminine was the Irish Blessing plate someone made that is yellow but covered in snakes in honor of St. Patrick. Yet, I treasure each one.
As they got older, I tempered my expectations to simply not cooking or walking the dog.
If I kept the bar low, we eked out a peaceful Mother’s Day annually. This year, all hopes of a peaceful Mother’s Day were shot down early.
Two of my boys were playing in a state championship rugby tournament at a university about an hour from home.
You see, somehow we have ended up rugby people. All three of my kids play either high school Club or college so I spend an enormous amount of time traveling the East Coast to watch as they batter their bodies without pads or protection. If there is a special place in heaven for the mothers of boys, there is a feast and throne there awaiting rugby moms.
With single elimination games slated to start early in the a.m., we had to prepare for an 8-hour stay. Which was all fine and good until a glance at the weather app announced a 100 percent chance of rain all day.
This was a new low in the Mother’s Day standards even for me.
At 8:30 a.m. we left the house for the day looking like we were moving out forever. Bags of food, two changes of clothing for both boys, double shoes for my husband and I, golf umbrellas, towels and a box of black industrial garbage bags to keep rugby kits dry. Or less wet. Or something.
Mother Nature missed the memo to help out a fellow sister. Not only was the rain relentless, there was a steady breeze and temps in the low 50s.
Additionally, we had exactly two portable bathrooms for the moms to share with the rugby teams, and none of the university buildings were open. The day just kept getting better and better.
But then it actually did. Because I did what mothers do, I improvised. This wasn’t any sane person’s plan for an ideal Mother’s Day but as we dried our pruned fingers and clapped out muddy cleats between games, I realized my kids were sharing what they are passionate about with me.
They were thrilled to have Lunchables, trail mix and a heated car.
Grateful beyond measure to have us right there with them to laugh about the way the water sprayed each time a player hit the ground—or the concept that the entire event would make for a great Tide commercial.
We were together appreciating each other in the moment. Something that never would have happened at home with everyone trying to give me space and quiet. And when they won the Maryland State Rugby Championship, it didn’t matter that my hair was like a stray cat and my legs were splattered with mud. It mattered that I was present in my kid’s joy and that is pretty much living the dream, Mother’s Day and every day.