Don’t Give Me Spa Time for Mother’s Day

April 15, 2012

I’m just four years into being a mother so forgive my naiveté. For now at least, some items top the list of what I do not want for Mother’s Day. No facial, no pedicure, no manicure, no day at the spa. No thank you, please.

What I do want is simple: A fun day with my husband and my son. The fact that I have these two amazing males in my life is a gift in and of itself, one that I look at in awe quite frequently. I don’t need to be pampered on Mother’s Day. I just want to be well, Mom.

OK, I’ll still accept the roses my husband buys me each Mother’s Day. But I particularly like another tradition we’ve created – a day out as a family and the outing is Mom’s choice.

Linda with her son Simon in Mother's Day 2011

Last year, we participated in Boston’s annual Make Way for Ducklings parade after feeding the ducks and strolling through the Boston Common. Simon and I created a makeshift duckling costume for him. The day of the parade, he and I both wore ducky hats sold on the Common.

Mother and son in ducky hats on Boston Common

Simon laughs at magician during Mother's Day 2011

Simon became drowsy during the parade, but the best part was before the parade. My son giggled hysterically at a magician and bounced up and down in his bright yellow duck-like sandals. He was joy.

In Mother’s Day 2010, we went to Franklin Park Zoo in Boston. This year, we’re in the planning stages for Mother’s Day. “What if we do a whale watch on Mother’s Day?” I asked Simon as our family headed out to a local bike path for a bike and rollerblade outing.

“Yes!” he shouted, then began chattering about how the whales would splash us.

I’ve gone on whale watches many times before. Without my family along, I’ve had more adventures than I can count. I married when I was 42, and Pavlik and I had Simon when I was 43. Single for more than four decades, I had plenty of chances for time alone, time for spa days, time to scuba dive and gaze at sea turtles swimming near my flippers, and time for touring in England, Japan, Israel, and Mexico.

But none of those adventures mean as much as the times I’m having now as a mother and a wife. Many a Mother’s Day came and went when the day brought more anguish than joy. Yes, I always celebrated my own mother, who has always been like my best friend. But as I reached 30 and neared 40 as a childless, single woman, I could not help but ache for what I did not have. My mother, while being careful not to say much, ached alongside me. She wanted to be a grandmother as much as I wanted to make her one. It was well past time for me to have my own Mother’s Day, even though when I was childless, I would scoff that it was a Hallmark holiday.

Now every Mother’s Day, that ache has been replaced by a joy that some might think is nauseatingly gushy. In the past, my eyes would tear on Mother’s Day out of grief. Now, my eyes grow wet out of happiness. That little tow-haired boy laughing, giggling, running, hugging, kissing, being is my son. His eyes, a shade of blue, look a little like mine. His long eyelashes resemble his father’s. His zest for life is all his. If I luxuriated in a spa on Mother’s Day, oh, what I would miss. This year, with my son and husband at my side, I prefer to watch whales.

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