Happy Mother’s Day to all moms!

New moms, grandmoms, soon to be moms, and want to be moms! No matter the season, this day is for you! Enjoy!

I found this photo of my mom, standing next to me, looking into our future. So weird to think about all that is planned, all the dreams you have as a mom for your children. Looking together at what will unfold, with the only known constant being our forever connection of love.

lovely mom

To commemorate my own current stage of momdom, I wrote a piece that appeared in Redbook magazine describing what it’s like for a newly empty nesting mom. I hope you enjoy it.

What an Empty Nesting Mom Knows About Mother’s Day

When your kids are little, Mother’s Day is celebrated with a flourish. The teachers at school orchestrate heart-felt celebrations, making sure gifts and special poems and crafts arrive home from even the tiniest of preschoolers. Maybe, especially from those little ones: I think back to all of those little handprint crafts with such a warm heart.

One of my favorite things about the kids’ preschool was the Mother’s Day tea every year. The moms were invited to join their four-year-olds in class that day. We fashioned tea hats out of newspapers, ate special snacks cuddled next to our little people, and wiped away tears as they performed the Thank You Mom song.

Just remembering those days makes my eyes misty. I hope that if you’re a mom, you have had many similar memories like those to treasure. And if you’re still in the middle of the exhausting, wonderful, and magical time of toddlers and elementary school parenting, make sure you stop and appreciate the moments of Mother’s Day as they unfold: messy, creative, adorable and heart felt.

Because Mother’s Day changes as the kids grow older. As older elementary kids and middle school aged kids, they are still forced to acknowledge the day, whether by a teacher at school, another mom in the carpool, or a thoughtful spouse. At my home as the kids were growing up, I was lucky to have a husband who made sure I felt extra love from the four kids on Mother’s Day, even if it was just having them sign their names on a card. In high school, each Mother’s Day was greeted with varying degrees of effort and thought. One of my favorites was the time all four of my kids wrote a stanza of a poem and delivered it, rap-style, around the kitchen table. Priceless.

I’ve discovered, as with many things that empty nesting brings, Mother’s Day is different now. Sure I can console myself with the fact, thank goodness, that all four kids are happy, healthy and thriving. That’s the new form of a handprint – their happiness – but now I hold it in my heart instead of hanging it on the refrigerator.

Will the kids be home this first Sunday in May? Maybe, I’ll hope to see at least one, maybe two of them if I’m lucky. We’ll go to brunch, or walk on the beach, whatever they have time for. Because that’s what Mother’s Day truly becomes once your kids are grown: any day they have time to spend with you.

I’ll take a Mother’s Day any day of the week, any time of the day. Whether it’s a quick call from my daughter when she has a break during work, or a surprise visit by my college junior bringing his friends home for the weekend, that’s a special day. Do I want more time with the kids. Always. Being a mom, though, is a process of letting go from the time your baby is born. And so this, this empty nest stage is another step in the process. I know we love each other, even if they can’t be with me on Sunday. We’ll make up for it the next time we’re together, we’ll make it a Mother’s Day. Memories and moments are what matters now to make this mom’s day. I suppose that is what has mattered all along.

Kaira Rouda is the award-winning author of  “The Goodbye Year” who lives with her husband and four kids. Connect with her on Twitter, @KairaRouda, and on Facebook at Kaira Rouda Books. 

The Goodbye Year by Kaira Rouda

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