Happy Mother’s Day. If anything, holidays like today place a stamp on this day amidst the irrevocable march of time. Photos, cards, gifts, mentions, and memories..a moment or day where we reflect, compare, and remember with those from the past. Last year on Mother’s Day it was sunny, my family had a picnic on a hill with fried chicken, and neither of my children were old enough/able to make a homemade card. We played airplanes (the kind where kids fly on your legs), drank sparkling water, and I celebrated my mom’s health amidst a cycle of chemotherapy. It was a good day; I felt love and loved, simultaneously. Sandwiched in the best way I know.

This year things are slightly different–a bit more calm, oddly, and a bit richer, too. When I reflect, compare, and remember, I sense and realize the progress of my children more exquisitely. The boys are bigger, yes. But wiser and then simply more sincere. I know them better than I did before. F told me he loved me a dozen times, in multiple different ways. He donned a hat with a large heart at one point in our day and came running out of his room to proclaim his feelings. In the grocery store, he told me he would love me every single day of his life. I mean, come on. You can’t make this up. And oddly enough, you can’t ask for it, either.

But as nearly every mother knows, this day is not simply roses and lockets, cards and cupcakes, proclamations or pledges. Planned intimacy just isn’t all easy. It often leaves us more emptied than filled. On Mother’s Day, I am thinking of friends who have lost their mothers. I’m thinking of mothers who have lost their children. This holiday, as a grown-up, is one soaked by the strong tides of emotion that may ebb just as much as they flow. The uniformity that each human on planet earth does indeed have a mother (defined differently) defines and unifies, but it also urges us to compare. And thus today is a day to remember parts of our childhood, parts of our adulthood, or parts of parenting. We may noodle on our choices due to the influence from Mom. This from both their presence and absence in our lives.

Today was a beautiful day for me. Tame, tactile, and timed. There was a homemade card (above), a breakfast out, and a spontaneous outing to a museum. But the best part: just time to play. We’re still playing with airplanes this year although very differently. Today I was a passenger, not a pilot. And as I move my hands on the keyboard tonight, saturated from my time with my boys and the fortuitous gift of being granted the opportunity to raise them, I am reminded just how little of this I control.

Last week while away from my boys, I talked with a mom who detailed how her 2nd-grade son had recently announced, “No more kisses at the cubby [at school].” She’d suddenly stumbled upon an unexpected line, one that she simply wasn’t ready for. Not only does parenthood seem to rush by, but as we evolve along side our children, the future only becomes wider and maybe more uncharted. The stamps on days like today help us make sense of where we’ve been and where we may be headed.

This Mother’s Day I am again reflecting, comparing, and remembering. This year I am settled and surrounded by those I love most; I hope you are, too. Happy Mother’s Day, however you found it. May it be a good day to remember…