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Do You Have Mother's Day Expectations? How I Changed My Thinking about the Holiday

Posted by Gina Norma

I often have expectations for Mother’s Day. Sort of like I do for my Birthday. It’s the two days that I sort of technically “get away” with doing, well — NOTHING. It’s the two days I have in mind where I am served. It’s the two days where I don’t have to wipe a counter top down, find lost items, feed the dogs, make a lunch, answer a ton of questions, figure out schedules, keep track of emails from school/activities, make decisions…and the list goes on! It’s the two days where I just am. I kind of envision it where my household is revolving around me, not the other way around. Kind of like they are looking out for me. And if I really want to be fairytale-ish, it’s the two days where I feel like a queen. Or at least aspire to.

Through the years, I’ve collected many plants that my daughter brought home from school only to die right away. I’ve gotten a drawer full of paper cards, and lots of “cut outs” as I like to refer to them as. Whether my daughter has cut out a person shape, a flower or a number, I have it. I have construction paper riddled with glue, glitter and gems. I have clay pots, wooden plaques, dried flowers, and heartfelt hand-written notes.

In more recent years I’ve gotten store bought cards — And one year, a store bought key chain, which I loved. It was a doghouse with a photo spot to insert a picture of my dog Nells.

But I have to say, as my daughter gets older, I really, really miss the homemade, hand-crafted goodies. I looked forward to them every year.  I miss the running up and jumping on the bed with the glitter spilling everywhere. I miss the excitement of doing something special for “Mommy.” It seems the enthusiasm fades on Mother’s Day a bit as children get older.

I found myself hung up on this throughout the day last year. And maybe it was just because my daughter forgot to get me a card. Maybe it was because I didn’t get a card or gift from my Husband. I don’t know. Maybe my hang-ups are justified or maybe I’m just being selfish. Maybe I’m sad and mourning the fact that I have only one year left for celebrating Mother’s Day with my daughter under the age of adulthood. Maybe I was just frustrated with their lack of effort?

I can’t help but wonder, “Am I being taken for granted? Do they not appreciate me?”

Whether the answer is yes or no, I am still a mother. That is what hit me as I was wallowing in self-pity late this afternoon.

My daughter loves me. She loves me. I am a mother. That is enough.

What makes and made my day special, wasn’t the hoopla that surrounds what Mother’s Day is supposed to be according to the media; what made it special was the fact, the one and only fact — that I am a Mother.

What made it special is that when my daughter was doing the dishes when we arrived home from lunch with my family. What made it meaningful beyond any paper card could, was that in the middle of doing dishes my daughter said to me, “Didn’t you hear me?”

I said, “No, what?”

She said, “I cut my finger.”

I said, “Oh you did, I didn’t know.”

She says, “Yeah, I told you.”

I said, “I must not have heard you honey. I’m sorry, let me see — does it hurt? How did you do it?”

She said, “It was a knife. I told you and you didn’t say anything, so I thought you didn’t care.”

I said, “Oh honey, I’m so sorry, you know that isn’t true, ever.”

She asks, “Can I have a hug?”

I said, with tear-filled eyes, “What? Sure, of course.”

She held me for a minute. 1 minute. My 16-year-old held me!

That far out-weighed any expectation I ever had. That is something you can’t think up on your own. Being the parent of a teen, I wouldn’t have ever expected it to happen. Same with the way she held doors for me all day long, asked how I was doing all day long, wished me Happy Mother’s Day about 10 times, told me she loved me, went to church and  connected with me about something in the sermon that we had just talked about, and complimented me throughout the day.

And the best part of the day? Her thanking me before bed for being her Mommy. Her thanking me for who I am and what I do for her. Her telling me she wants me to help her raise her kids someday. That is what it means, in my book, to be treated like a Queen.

I don’t know what my husband and daughter have planned for this year — and maybe it’s not anything special — but I don’t know if they’ll be able to top last year. This year, I don’t have any expectations.


About Gina Norma

Gina Norma grew up in St. Paul MN, and enjoys art, reading, traveling, thrift shopping, picnics, volunteering and spending time with her 17-year-old. One day she hopes to go to Italy, attend college, and solve world hunger. Gina says, “To me, parenting is all about building relationships with our kids and walking along side them — not trying to control them or use shame.” You can read Gina’s blog at

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