I was sick in bed with bronchitis, reeling between fever-induced sweats and chills and coughing continuously. My three angels were understanding about the weekend of continual television, of everlasting cuddles and quick-to-throw-together meals. Mommy’s sick, I explained, not for a minute wishing that they were at their father’s house so that I could sleep without worrying about what a boring weekend they were having.
It was my favorite Mother’s Day yet.
Because I got a paper bag decorated with stars and hearts and big capital letters and fat exclamation points.
Because I got a handmade book, written in careful scrawl by my kindergartener, which said her favorite thing to do with me is have time alone and that in her eyes, I am 50 feet tall and 30 pounds.
Because my not-quite-three-year-old painted a wooden box for me and filled it with Hershey kisses for all of us to eat.
This year, I did not get one store-bought present for Mother’s Day but it was my favorite celebration of motherhood yet. My children’s warm hugs and sweet kisses, our synergistic weekends together, seeking meaning, seeking light, seeking connection with each other and with everything around us.
A few weeks ago, we spent a warm Saturday hiking through the Cranbrook campus. The children took off their shoes and waded in the trickling waterfall of the Japanese garden, felt the soft massage of pebbles underfoot. We inhaled the scent of pine needles and stopped to stare at flowers and listen to the rush of water narrowing from a serene pond into a cascading tumble over concrete blocks.
It was the perfect day.
Every day with my children is a perfect day, even those when I become exasperated and lose my cool. Even the times when their tantrums ring hollow and long. Even the times when we rush from point A to point B to point C.
Late in the afternoon on this Mother’s Day, my ex-husband sent me a text: I know we’ve had our differences, but I want to wish you a happy Mother’s Day.
It was icing on the proverbial cake. That’s very nice, I typed into the smartphone. Thank you.
Last night, my plane taxied twoard the gate and I edged at my seat, eager to deplane and get home to the people whose hearts beat in sync with mine. I had gone to New York in search of escape and connection with self, in search of inspiration for my multi-tiered quest.
New York has lost the allure for me. Its bustle and rush too frantic, and the distance between me and those three important souls around whom my life revolves too great.
Coming home was more than an end to a trip, more than a mere arrival.