This weekend gives me a chance to celebrate being a mom, the best job I’ve ever had, the most rewarding, the most frustrating and the one that fills me with the greatest joy.
And of course, unlike my time at journalism school, there is nothing that can really prepare you for parenthood. You can read books, take advice both solicited and, more often than not, unsolicited. You can take various parenting workshops. But when all is said and done, you just have to jump in with both feet and do your best, at times fumbling, at times soaring. And along the way, you’ll make mistakes, just like our parents did before us, and our grandparents before them.
Mother’s Day means the chance to celebrate the beautiful blessing that is my daughter and I’m looking forward to seeing the handmade gifts and cards she will present to me, and then the three of us spending the day together.
But Mother’s Day, which always falls just before or after my birthday, also serves to remind me of how much I miss my own mother. How I will always miss her and wish she were here to provide her wise counsel, her love, her support, her sense of humour. When it comes to moms, I won the lottery.
But Mother’s Day also reminds me of how blessed I am to have another mother in my life: my mother-in-law, Barb. I know there are many who would not choose to willingly spend time with their in-laws, but I am lucky enough to have parents-in-law whose company I enjoy, even if I could do without the 12-hour drive to Saskatchewan to see them.
From the moment I met my future in-laws, I was warmly welcomed and made to feel like a member of the family. I wasn’t sure how that first meeting would go: their beloved first-born was after all marrying someone they had never met and who was, to put it kindly, a few years older.
Over the years, the love and support I have received has overwhelmed me. We spent our first Christmas as a married couple in Saskatchewan and visited with family, where we sat around the table, talking and drinking coffee, and I was honoured with the gift of one of the Christmas sweaters made each year by my husband’s grandmother. OK, not exactly the height of fashion, but wearing the sweater made me feel a part of the family. Barb and I went snowmobiling that day, laughing uproariously. I knew then this was someone I could count on for not just love and support, but also plenty of fun.
Many years later, after my husband and I lost our first baby, my in-laws drove out from Saskatchewan to spend what would have been my due date with me. My husband was out of town covering the Royal Bank Cup for The Morning Star, and they did not want me to be alone. They spent just two nights in Vernon before making the arduous journey home.
Over the years, we have spent countless hours talking on subjects ranging from religion to weight loss and everything in between.
And since the dance floor is not my husband’s favourite place to be, I can always count on Barb as a dance partner at family weddings.
When our daughter came along — her third granddaughter — she was the happiest grandma in the world, even though by this time she had been on the job for a few years. She never forgets the big dates such as birthdays and Christmas, but little gifts arrive throughout the year, just because. Last year, on my significant birthday ending in a zero, she sent me a huge basket filled with a gift for every one of those years.
We have shared laughter and tears, and have weathered occasional disagreements. But through it all, I have always known I could count on Barb to be there for me, as she is there for every member of her family.
So a very happy Mother’s Day to the woman who is both a mom and a friend, for whom family is everything, and into whose family I had the good fortune to marry into. I love you!