I’m starting a tradition of sharing holidays with friends. Except for Easter. At least not this year because it was a kid’s holiday and Cavanaugh hasn’t wanted to hang out with kids much lately. But today is Mother’s Day and I wanted to hang out with kids and grown-ups.
I’ve been alone a lot lately. Cavanaugh’s in MDO three days a week, has started sleepovers with his dad one night a week and sees his dad on three other days. What that means for Cavanaugh is that he’s been spending a lot of time away from home. When he is home, he doesn’t want to have playdates or hang out with anyone but me. He just wants to stay at home and play LEGOs.
Considering my free time comes during most people’s work weeks and the other folks I could hang out are with their kids–who my son hasn’t wanted to see lately and who (no offense) I don’t particularly want to hang out with when I’m kid free, I spend most of my time by myself. When I could hang with friends, on my long Saturdays or on the nights Cavanaugh spends at his dad’s, I’ve been checking in with myself about whether I want company or want to make plans. Almost always, the answer is no. I’m enjoying being alone.
But holidays are not most days. They have all this emotional weight and expectation attached. Mother’s Day is a family day, when the man who made you a mother buys you flowers and gives you a card. That hasn’t happened at my house for two years now and I didn’t want to celebrate Mother’s Day by feeling like something was missing. It was my turn to host the monthly potluck for a group that’s been having family potlucks for two years now. Why not host it on Mother’s Day? Initially, I was afraid everyone would be busy with their own families and it wouldn’t be a good day for them. As happens when I get worried about one thing, usually a whole crowd starts banging on the door with other concerns: I don’t have enough fun stuff to do outside–no trampoline or swimming pool, Cavanaugh doesn’t want to hang out with other kids, most of the flowers in my gardens aren’t blooming yet, and on and on. Luckily, I talked to my friend Gray who laughed at me and told me she would come. So I sent out the invitation and 33 people came. The kids (not mine) ran through sprinklers in the back yard and pulled down almost all of Cavanaugh’s toys in his room. We stored the LEGOs in the garage because they would have just caused territorial sadness, plus the little kids might have eaten them.
This morning Cavanaugh and I baked chocolate chip cookies and danced around the kitchen to a Mama playlist I made on my first Mother’s Day. He said, “Spin Mama” and threw his head back to look at the ceiling and at me. He sang “I love you” with the chorus of the song and we danced through the living room, kitchen, library, entryway and back into the living room where he asked me to spin him again.
He was excited about the party until the second family arrived and then he started asking when people were going home. He said, “You shouldn’t have invited all these people Mama. It doesn’t make me happy.”
The whole, it’s Mother’s Day and having people over makes me happy thing didn’t really fly. He hung out with one boy he’d never met before and they seemed to hit it off pretty well but he eventually chose to go in the guest room upstairs by himself to play LEGOs rather than try to socialize with any of his friends. Something magical happened. He stayed in there for five minutes and came back out again. I went in there with a friend to go over the plans of her new remodel with her and while we were there, Cavanaugh started socializing. He played chase, built with blocks, and by the time everyone was leaving, he said, “I’ve been missing them. We should hang out with them again.” Maybe it had been so long, he forgot he actually liked these people.
As it turned out we both had a blast, the least lonely Mother’s Day possible. We got great time this morning between the baking and my learning how to make LEGO capes and hoods from YouTube videos. Then we had almost five hours of friends. As much as I’ve been enjoying some alone time and getting to refill my emotional cup, being with a group of good friends was exactly what I needed today.
Plus, my mom sent me a card with flowers on it and Cavanaugh made me a handprint at school, which is the second greatest Mother’s Day present in the world, surpassed only by the great gift of being his mom and followed closely by sharing a lot of love, food, and company with friends.
What did you do with your Mother’s Day? Here’s hoping yours was love-filled too.