May has long been my favorite month of the year. Before having kids it was my birthday, the beginning of real spring and the end of school. After my first daughter was born, Mother’s day and my birthday consistently fell within a week of each other and that allowed me to stretch both out, just a little bit. I LOVE birthdays. Mine and anyone else’s. My friends often tease me as May draws closer that “my birthday month is approaching.” I’ve loved them for as long as I can remember. I found that they became even more important after losing one of my dearest friends and learning the life altering lesson of not knowing when our last one will be.
I’ve always wanted to celebrate. Nothing fancy or over the top, but friends, family and of course food and cake! Mother’s day has been the same. I want to lay in bed for 10 extra minutes, hand-made cards and spend the day planting flowers with my kids. And I want the blessing of having to plan none of it. I want it all to be taken care of for those two days of the year. I am no different than any other mom or woman, I’m just divorced.
This year is different though. This year I am turning 40 and this year there is no dad around to whisper reminders in the kid’s ears. The triviality of all of this is not lost on me, but I am who I am and these occasions are important to me. To me they matter. I spent some time sulking about it, debating just how tacky it might be and then I put on my big girl panties, strapped on a set of balls and planned my own 40th birthday party. I decided that I needed to take change no matter how it might look or feel. That I needed this, deserved it and that there was no reason I couldn’t do it myself.
I decided to harness my best qualities and go for it. I am change maker. I talk the talk AND walk the walk. I perseverate over issues, yes. But then, when I’m at my best, I act. So I sent out an invite, ordered the food, shopped for the drinks and aligned my resources and my army of helpers. 40 will not look anything like what I’d imagined even 2 years ago, but it will be good. I will be good.
And we, we will be good. I sent up a red flag to the girls in my boat and asked what they were doing about Mother’s day. Within 24 hours we had a women’s 5k and brunch planned. So all of us will corral strength from each other and our kids that day and we too will be good.
All of this was hard, a struggle even. A year ago I’d not have been able to do more than climb under my covers and mourn the loss, the change and the burden. Today I am stronger, I am wiser, I am less naïve and I am over myself. I am still working on the acceptance that this is what my life looks like now. I am still working on less self-castigation and flagellation. I am a work in progress every day. I am so much of what I want to be and yet the road it still so very long.
May though, May 2015 will be one for the books. I know, because I planned it that way.