When I first hear about Mother's Day, it seems like a silly holiday invented by Hallmark. I didn't grow up with Mother's Day. I grew up in a cult and we didn't celebrate any holidays there. By the time I hear about it, I am a mother and too exhausted to celebrate. My ex-husband isn't much of a roses and champagne person, but he is willing to take the kids to the park and let me get caught up on sleep. Sleep is a great gift for a new mom.
My new mother-in-law likes brunches where we all wear white and as my sister-in-law says, she can play Rose Kennedy. These brunches last hours. My kids finish eating and then start to tear up the place. I shut down our family going to the fancy brunches.
We try brunch at our house. I can see that my mother-in-law doesn't like the yogurt and bowls of fruit. She loves the pomp and circumstance of restaurants, waiters, linen, silver.
We start to separate for the day. I tell my husband, What she really wants is you. I take my kids and we go out to celebrate. We go to Venice Beach. We go out on the paddle boats in Golden Gate Park. We walk through the Haight. When they get older, we have Bloody Marys. I love having a day to spend with my kids doing whatever we want. My husband takes his mother to restaurants where I make reservations six weeks in advance.
This Mother's Day we are going as a family to the Huntington. My mother-in-law, my husband, my daughter and me. We are going to have high tea, see the gardens and have champagne. It will be crowded, but the Huntington is a big place. Lots of ladies wear hats there. I'll encourage my mother-in-law to bring a hat.
At Red Hen, we love mothers, and we love giving books to mothers. We have two books that are hot gifts for Mother's Day: Poems from the Pond by Peggy Freydberg who wrote these poems from ninety to one hundred and seven. What mother doesn't want to believe she can be inspired at any age? These poems ask you to slow down, to relax, to think about your life and what's beautiful about it.
When the World Breaks Open, is Seema Reza's story of running the writing program at Walter Reed Hospital while going through a divorce. She's raising her two sons, juggling the vets' needs and taking care of herself in the cracks. That's motherhood; mothers get what's left. Seema makes her own dive into single parenting an adventure and a dream of awakening into living life on your own terms.
Mother's Day is coming. Buy the mother in your life a book, a flower, a bagel, a glass of champagne. Remind her to keep the windows open, let opportunities fly in. When I think of big accomplishments in my own life, I think of my two kids. The two of them turned out to be so amazing even though I didn't know anything about being a mother. I was running through the sprinklers with them to Leonard Cohen's "Take this Waltz;" and giving them Otter Pops. You could do worse, I tell them than a Leonard Cohen Otter Pop mom.