Happy Mother’s Day

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By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

Are you reading this article from your bed as you wait for someone to knock on the door with breakfast and a steaming hot cup of coffee?

Yeah, neither am I. But, that’s OK.

You know what’s funny? I tend to celebrate a good portion of Mother’s Day without my kids. Not that I have zero interaction with my children on that day…I do. However, truth be told, the second Sunday in May (other than occasionally going as a family to Steeplechase in perfect weather because I can’t manage to stand there in the freezing cold/blazing hot/muckety-muck) is typically about the ESCAPE from motherhood. For example, I am usually out of the house hours before my boys even open their eyes (which is not that early considering they rarely roll out of bed on a weekend before 11am). I meet up with my mom and sisters for a leisurely brunch followed by a mani/pedi or a few hours of shopping. We love getting together to enjoy the peace and quiet. It’s a respite from the normal, end-of-the-weekend rat race ie: grocery shopping, sorting laundry, packing lunches, etc.

I come home feeling like my battery has been re-charged.

But, last week I had a really interesting revelation. As many of you know from reading my column, I am a divorce attorney turned therapist, but also a custody mediator. I meet with separated parents to help them figure out a schedule for co-parenting without the need for judicial intervention. As we work our way through the Order, it is standard to alternate holidays (in an odd year/ even year format) with the exception of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Mom will always “get” the kids on Mother’s Day (regardless of the normal custody rotation) and Dad will always “get” Father’s Day. It’s a no-brainer.

Now, I have been doing custody mediations for a long, long, time. But, it was just the other day that I absorbed the irony of this Mother’s Day / Father’s Day scenario. Here I am trying like hell to distance myself from my maternal instincts, albeit for one day….while other women are relishing the bonus time they get with their kids.

I drove all the way home from the session thinking about the magnitude of this fact.

When my oldest left for college last year it was my first experience being away from my child for a prolonged period of time. I think I finally stopped crying about it a few weeks before he came home for the summer. And, I have to say, although he just wrapped up his sophomore year, I still felt a stab to the heart EVERY SINGLE TIME he pulls out of the driveway to make the four hour trek back to school.

To add more salt to the wound, my youngest will be a senior in high school next year. It feels like my role as a full-time, hands-on Mom is a palmful of sand slipping through my fingers.

Rest assured, I come from a long line of strong matriarchs who found a way to firmly insert themselves into the lives of their adult children. I am not worried about not being involved. But, it will be a different sort of relationship. And, that idea tugs at my heartstrings.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, every time life presents you with a lightbulb moment, take the opportunity to absorb it. Relish what you have and make intentions to change the things that you are not happy about. Motherhood is one of those journeys that is unique to every woman, yet universal at the same time. Ya know?

What do you think about it? As always, please share your ideas in the Comment section below.

Happy Weekend

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