Yesterday, my husband asked me what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day. While thinking about my response, I couldn’t help but think back to last year, my first-ever Mother’s Day…
I’ve always understood Mother’s Day to be special. Growing up, Mother’s Day – like all observances in my Portuguese family – was about the two f’s: family and food. We’d always present my mom and grandmother with orchid corsages, and would go out for brunch. I remember Mother’s Day being one of the few occasions where we actually went out to eat; it was a true treat for our whole family. So on that special day, my brother, sister and I would try extra hard to get along, all in honor of Mom.
While I was pregnant, I would often think ahead to my first-ever Mother’s Day. Sometimes I had visions of continuing my family’s tradition. Other times I imagined my husband waking up early, taking care of our baby so I could sleep in, and later surprising me with breakfast in bed. Whatever would happen, I always thought it would be picture-perfect and memorable in every way.
But sometimes the best memories aren’t exactly how you plan them.
Just a few weeks before Mother’s Day last year, my husband hurt his back. Complications from the injury meant a week-long hospitalization, and discharge instructions included lifting nothing over ten pounds, not driving for more than 20 minutes and not walking our dogs.
So, for a few months, my poor husband was very limited in what he could do. He felt horrible in every way possible. He was in excruciating pain. He wanted to work, be an active father, and play golf, but was sidelined, trying to avoid the surgery he ultimately needed.
While Dad was out of commission, we had to cancel our vacation plans that we all so desperately needed. All baby care fell on Mom. All dog care fell on Mom. All heavy lifting (literally) fell on Mom.
Looking back on it now, last spring seemed like a big blur. It was a stressful time. I remember coming home on rainy days, putting Jack in the Baby Bjorn, wedging the umbrella handle under the Bjorn strap, walking the two dogs and sobbing. The “you’ve got your hands full” comments from passers-by only made the tears flow faster.
Frankly, life was so hectic, there was no time for Mother’s Day fantasies. Life was happening so quickly, I never even mailed my own mother a card (sorry, Mom!).
But that didn’t stop my two main men from plotting a very special and memorable day. My poor husband quietly hobbled around while Jack and I were still asleep, putting out fresh flowers and gifts, and waking me with a delicious breakfast in bed he worked so hard to make. To wake up with that special surprise was a moment I’ll never forget. It wasn’t what I envisioned; it was so much better. To have that home-made breakfast made with so much sacrifice and love, and a little giggling crawler to chase after all day was more than picture-perfect.
As I think about life one year ago, I’m thankful we pulled through that difficult time. I’m thankful my husband is once again healthy. I’m thankful our son has become a lively, energetic, free-spirited, running toddler who is so full of life and keeps me active.
As I write this post from North Carolina, taking the vacation we postponed last year, I think about what my husband asked me, and how I’d like to spend Sunday. I can’t think of a better way to spend it, than to just be with my two favorite men in the world. A little family and food to warm the heart.
Happy Mother’s Day to every mom out there!