You know, I had a nice Mother’s Day. There was a picnic, some hugs, my sweet F saying, “Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy.” There were tulips and time with my boys. I had time alone with my mom. But it wasn’t simple. Even with the gourmet Seattle sunshine and the flowers in the grass for airplane rides, I really did spin through variant emotions as the day unfolded. I think a lot about parenting now that I write a blog. Fortunately, by the end of the day, at least for 2010, I think I knew what Mother’s Day meant to me.

Mother’s Day may be complex, especially for non-traditional families and for those whose lives are surrounded by illness or loss. This year was the first time I really got that. I awoke yesterday before the kids (gasp) and was reading e-mail, my Twitter feed, and articles on my iphone in bed. I read the Motherlode guest blog which had me weeping before 7. I was sobbing, I suppose, because the post reminded me how complex motherhood is for many women. How intertwined unconditional love, responsibilities, expectations, birth, parenting and loss (or fear of) can be. This complexity had me in its grip all day. I delighted in my boys and their innocence. I went for a run. There was down time. But my head was swirling. So many messages presented themselves to me yesterday via sweet text messages from friends, e-mails, twitter feeds, phone calls and visits to our home. It really was colorful.

The day ended with me on the computer finishing an e-mail to my mom’s closest friends and family discussing her chemotherapy, her day at the cancer center, and her progress towards recovery. Then I chatted with my brother-in-law. Then an online chat with a friend of mine who is undergoing chemotherapy for stage 4 cancer and recently endured a family tragedy. We chatted about perspectives and the dynamics of family in the face of tragedy and loss. It seems, Mother’s Day can be about tulips and necklaces, homemade cards and Hallmark, glee clubs singing and songs at church. But for some, it’s a reminder of loss, complex love, or the distance some families endure despite their connections, gratitude, and kinship.

Mother’s Day. I thought a lot about my friend who lost her baby last year. I thought about my mom and her illness. I thought about my brother and his family. I thought about my nieces who have two dads. I thought a lot about the days my babies were born. I thought about my husband and our family. I was happy. But, in my head I kept returning to the essay by Emily Perl Kingsley entitled, Welcome to Holland. Have you read it? I think it’s about expectations. I’ve read it many times. And although it doesn’t seem to seal the deal for all sorts of moms who are parenting children with special needs, it had me thinking about the different ways mothers evolve and come to love. And the wonderful mothering I have been witness to as a pediatrician, and in my own family, nuclear and extended.

These pictures are from my Mother’s Day. Hope you had a meaningful and colorful day, too. Tomorrow, a guest blog from The Husband…