Thoughts on Home

Mother’s Day

Thoughts on Home

There are moments with my family when my thoughts recede and I feel as though I’m viewing a scene through the eyes of my future self. When I’m “looking back,” the peripheral drama and frustrations fade away and I see only the visceral beauty in a particular snippet. The mental separation also brings the fleeting nature of life with little kids into sharp focus and often induces what my four-year-old calls “happy-sad tears.”

I had a few of these yin-yang moments on Mother’s Day. The first happened at 6 a.m., when the kids burst into our bedroom bearing messages, and a three-part “chapter book” (partially shown below), that stirred my guilty working-mom’s heart.

I am choosing to focus on my son’s sweet words and not this worksheet’s obvious grammatical shortcomings!
Translation: “I love you.”
I make cookies so rarely, that I think they have left an outsize impression.

Card making for the grandmothers followed, an experience I can sum up in two photos:

I guess I should be grateful that my perfectionism only afflicts one of our children.

In the afternoon, everyone was happily doing his own thing (some more obsessively than others). Listening to my costumed older son randomly belt out Stevie Nicks’ Edge of Seventeen while he put together his sixth puzzle of the day (“He was no more than a baby then…”), a heavy mist again invaded my eyes.

The final moment of intense gratitude/panic about time flying by came during a delicious dinner Mark made for my mom, my brother, and us. I forgot to snap a photo because I was too busy taking it all in.

Am I the only one who had an emotional rollercoaster of a Mother’s Day? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories below.


  1. Rosie

    As a young mother, I didn’t always pause to consider how lucky I was. As a grandmother, it occurs to me everyday. Ah, the wisdom that comes with age!
    Sarah, this insightful story demonstrates your sensitivity and gratitude for what really matters most. Thank you!

    • Sarah Stebbins

      <3 <3 <3 (these are supposed to be hearts:) Thank you!

  2. Susan G

    I spent Mother’s Day how I spend most days–enjoying a swim and tennis with my son, a teenager with autism –but also had a nice breakfast my husband made us.

    Gifts are not my love language, quality time is, so I didn’t want anything material.

    But I was sad that all I got from my daughter –who doesn’t want to come home this summer after her first year in college –was a text (prompted by her father’s text reminding her what day it was) “I love you! Happy Mother’s Day!” it said.

    I started to text back “I love you, too. Stay safe.” but I thought: Seriously? That’s all I get from my first born on Mother’s Day? A one line text? No corny rhyme? No photo?

    Maybe she’ll call, I thought. I waited. Waited. Waited. Hurt and sad, finally at 5pm, I DID reply to her text with this: “I’m sad you didn’t call me on mother’s day.”
    She replied right away: “I’m sorry! I can call you now, can you talk?”

    I did not answer that text but called HER instead and for once she answered the phone –the phone that we pay for, but she rarely calls us on or even answers our calls.

    But this was mother’s day. Not the time to bring up all that. We had a nice conversation.

    Holidays are a prime times for celebration, but also for the blues due to increased expectations. So yes, misty eyes here too as I see your blog, remembering those messy puzzle and card making, working mom, exhausted-all-the-time days when they were little.
    But I DID have happy mother’s days then and now. Being a mom was a lifelong dream and it didn’t happen until I was 38 years old.
    But it was a good day as soon as I swallowed my pride and let her know I was sad she hadn’t called. I know she loves me and that should be enough but on mother’s day we expect a little more, don’t we?
    It’s the journey.
    Practice makes perfect. It’s sweet it was important enough to him that he wanted his card to be perfect.

    • Sarah Stebbins

      Oh, Susan, thank you so much for sharing your happy/sad story. I can remember being so consumed with myself in college — I’m sure my parents felt the same as you. Now of course I see your side of things and know I would feel the same way. Life with kids is so intensely joyous and heartbreaking — the yin and yang. I’m glad you had a nice day with your son. xo

  3. Paula k

    Ditto on Rosie’s thoughts. Another Gramma here…who didnt get any cards this year….had so looked forward to the 3 1/2 yr old first attempts at writing her name would arrive in a card…but alas, daughter is “busy” so the next time we visit i am going with a shoebox of card making goodies and we will make our own, hopefully with no tears!! Trying to remember this: Expectations are Resentments-in-waiting

    • Sarah Stebbins

      I love that motto, Paula, and am going to try to remember it myself. I bet your granddaughter will be thrilled to make cards with you. In my experience, kids enjoy making art with grandmas more than they do with mom, who is usually trying to cook dinner or fold laundry at the same time. 🙂 Thank you so much for reading and sharing. xo

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