I wasn't looking forward to my first Mother's Day as a single Mama. My mother lived out of town. Big Pants was three, and Tiny Pants was just a yearling. I looked at everyone's Happy Mother's Day posts on Facebook and just felt hollow.
It wasn't that my kids didn't love me or appreciate me, but there was no one to help them fuss over me, to suggest that they should make Mama a card or anything. Mother's Day just accentuated how alone I was while everyone else was with their families.
I had to go to a Mother's Day lunch at my son's school, which I thought would probably be dull and just reiterate how different and alone I was as a single mama. I succumbed to the teacher's pressure (No would could say no to Mrs. S.) and agreed to attend, but explained that I worked at a church and we would be late. I was dreading it.
Church was somewhere else where I had lost my place, but this wasn't due to divorce. The church had been great with that aspect; through church I had found a place for the kids and I to live during my transition from married to single, and I had gotten a job there as well, which I combined with a second part time job to allow me stay home with the kids the four days I had them each week. That was great, but because I worked at church now, it had become a place where I had to be "on" and "up" and not a place where I could lean on people too hard. By taking the job, I closed off the only support I had.
I wore a skirt to be festive for Mother's Day and performed my church duties by rote. As soon as we could leave church we went to the school program. I tried to make small talk with the other moms, but I just felt like an alien. Their happy lives were so different from mine. After we ate our muffins the teacher turned on a CD player and all the little 3 and 4 year olds turned to their Mother's and sang "You Are My Sunshine," a song my mother used to sing to me. I cried. I cried small and secretly and hoped no one else would notice, but my heart filled up, and I wore my macaroni necklace proudly.
That was the only year the school did a Mother's Day program in the four years we went there, but it was the year I needed it most. We've found our groove now, the boys and I. This morning they made me coffee and toast, fighting over who got to do what, just like my brother and I did for my mom. We're comfortable and complete as a family unit, and it helps that one of them can reach the plates in the cabinet.
Still, I will never forget my first Single Mother's Day, and how a random school program filled me up and made me okay again. Thank you Montessori staff, you know who you are.