Every family has a few months out of the year that are bombarded with birthdays. We are nearing the end of our most hectic birthday months of the year and with the beginning of spring sports and other activities, I couldn’t be more pleased. For it has been a rush of candles, gift wrap and frosting since March 1, and I don’t think I can stand eating one more piece of birthday cake or blow up one more balloon.
Except I will.
Saturday is my Grandma’s 89th birthday.
Each year, the coming of Grandma’s birthday has coincided with Mother’s Day in some capacity, whether falling directly on it, or occurring the day before. It has always been my focus when planning the weekend. It has always been the reason that my entire family gets together and celebrates. She is the reason.
So Mother’s Day becomes about all of us (currently the count stands at 16). We get to exchange frantic emails about menus and who will be bringing what. We get to plead to the weather gods to bring sunshine. We get to have our toenails painted (girls) and wear our Hawaiian shirts (boys). We get to just be. All 16 of us, with Grandma, our “matriarch”.
And that is what defines the weekend for me.
For there is no greater gift I could want for Mother’s Day than to be sitting in the sun with my kids, my mom, my cousin and my aunts, basking in the glow of my Grandma.
It makes it all worth it. She makes it all worth it.
For all the moments when I’m feeling overwhelmed and stressed, all I have to do is think of her and how she managed raising three children after losing her husband when the youngest (my mom) was only 6 months old.
When I feel like I can’t handle the bickering, the whining and complaining, I think of her and her seemingly endless amount of patience that she had for my brother, cousin and myself when we were kids (and believe me, we dished out our own fair share of whining and complaining).
And when I sigh and feel sorry for myself when faced with a pile of laundry the size of Mt. Everest, I think of her and how she had to sew my mom and aunt’s dresses herself (and I can barely manage a button).
Being a mom is more than having a day on the calendar. Being a mom isn’t even about having kids, it’s about love. It’s about being part of the world in which you live and trying to make a difference. It’s about making the most of what you have and sharing that with others. It’s about not letting a not-so-ideal situation get you down, but picking yourself up and forging on, no matter what. It’s about seeing the glass half-full instead of half-empty. It’s about feeling. Feeling hopeful.
Grandma taught me that.
She taught me that with her endless servings of optimism.
I hope that I can pass it on.
Now, go hug your mother, or aunt, or brother, or kids - and have a great weekend.