I have had a very emotional week. Being the mother to a 10-month-old while six months pregnant makes even the most celebratory events a toss up between happy tears and feeling overwhelmed. Mother’s Day came with a certain anticipation brought on by expectation of how that milestone should look. Although we had a lovely day planned, I found myself struggling to connect.
I thought long and hard about what I wanted to do. I knew the hustle and bustle of brunch wasn’t sounding as fun with a baby (and no mimosas), and it’s rare for all of us to be together on a Sunday anyway, so I wanted to make it count. I thought about what makes my heart happy and what I wish I was surrounded by more often. I jotted down a little list of things to do on my first Mother’s Day and presented it to Matt.
- Coffee—the good kind. I am very cheap.
- Church—pretty standard, but as I mentioned above, we aren’t together on many Sundays because of work. Bellamy loves the music, and we love spending time with a community!
- Buy all the pretty fresh flowers I want from Trader Joe’s. Again, I’m cheap. I usually stop myself after a bundle of eucalyptus and white roses (if that). I wanted to go crazy on their little flower shop. Unfortunately, I neglected to remember it was Mother’s Day, and everyone had already purchased all the flowers for their moms. Oh, well! I quickly moved on to No. 4.
- Buy all the fun snacks I want from Trader Joe’s for a family picnic. Duh. I actually decided on the spicy cooked California roll and a green juice, because that’s delicious.
- Go to our “special place.”
This part was a surprise from Matt. We have a special place we will always remember that is largely connected to our life together. It’s the place we got engaged, where we later got married and is the first home we ever shared as a family. There is a man who owns a beautiful estate built in the 1900s. It still has all the original architecture and framework. On the property sits a garden and a cottage guest home. I remember knowing about the cottage and telling Matt it was my dream to live there. He told me that probably wouldn’t happen, but through a series of events, we were given the opportunity to be tenants.
This space, this magical getaway, was our own fairytale we got to experience as we transitioned into our marriage. It reminds me of a freedom-filled part of my youth and the sweet newness of being his wife. Matt has stayed friends with the owner and set up a visit to the property, so we could take our daughter and add to the many reasons why this place is held tightly in our hearts. He left a key and allowed us to enjoy his home for the entire day. We had lunch inside the main dining room and showed Bellamy around this museum of a place (aka: took lots of pictures). It was so thoughtful, and it meant so much.
Being in a familiar place while also in a very unfamiliar season felt a little bizarre. It prompted heartfelt conversations between us on how we are dealing with life, being parents and how we are feeling as individuals. Although I had every reason to be thankful (I was!) and joyful, I also felt tired and extremely depleted. I’m a believer in always being real, even if it’s an inconvenient time. There isn’t enough time period to pretend to be any type of way and miss out on really connecting with those you love. This is where the tears came in.
Call it hormones or call it sleep deprivation. I honestly am not sure what to call it, but I was one of those moms crying on Mother’s Day and feeling pretty lame about it, too. I think it’s easy to feel the weight of wanting to celebrate while simultaneously feeling like a normal woman who is pregnant and wiped out. I made a split decision to cancel our dinner reservations, pick up Whole Foods hot bar and head home. It was the best decision because the pressure was immediately lifted, and we felt more unified than we had all day.
A few days later was our third anniversary. To be honest, we almost forgot about it, which somehow made us both laugh. Two babies, two full-time jobs and a blooming future takes up a lot of your headspace. Matt didn’t even get through his sentence asking me about dinner plans before I cut him off.
“Nope. No dinner reservation. No babysitter. I don’t want to worry about it this time. I just want relaxed time with you!”
I should have known that would only fly so high with him, and that he would find some way for us to celebrate—really celebrate—our life together. Wednesday evening arrived, and I watched him walk through the door carrying all the contents to cook an amazing meal at home—something I have underestimated up until this point. I sat back and let him work his magic on an antipasto plate, salmon with blueberry compote, a curried cashew salad and more, realizing I had finally found my celebration vibe in the combination of champagne toasts and pajamas. Four courses later, I told him it was the best anniversary yet, and I was so thankful to have a few moments of clarity and joy in the midst of the most challenging season of our lives.