Happy Single Mother's Day

Jordana’s children on Lake Calhoun. Photos by Jordana Green.

Happy Mother’s Day. I hope yours was perfect. It’s supposed to be, but many of us struggle on this day. Some have lost their mother, some have lost a child, some are estranged from loved ones, and many are dealing with the after-math of divorce. Mother’s Day is not always sweet cards and flowers.

I remember my first Mother’s Day post-divorce. I was lost. My kids were 8, 6, and 4—I took them to buy me cards so they wouldn’t feel bad if they didn’t have any to give on Sunday morning. That sucked. After I opened the cards I had bought for myself, I had to entertain them and pretend it wasn’t weird that their father wasn’t there. I had begun dating my now-husband and he sensed this would be a difficult day for all of us. (I realize not all single moms have boyfriends to save the day. I am grateful for him, but my heart goes out to the truly single moms.) He distracted us most of the day by bringing us out to brunch with his mom and family, going out for ice cream, and suggesting paddle-boating on Lake Calhoun. That Mother’s Day was fabulous and painful at the same time.

Another moment that gave me pause that first Single Mother’s Day was what to do for my former mother-in-law.  She’d been my second mother for nearly 20 years. I love her— always did, always will. Her grandchildren were with me that day so it was an easy excuse to call her to wish her a Happy Mother’s Day. Now the kids have their own devices so I make sure they call, text, or face time her. I send her a text, but it’s still a little weird.

It’s been five years since my first Single-Mother’s Day and they’ve gotten better ever since. There are more moms to celebrate now—my new husband’s mom, my ex’s girlfriend’s mom, and all the mom’s in our new extended families. Creating new traditions and accepting the family that we’ve become has helped us all heal and move forward. Handsome then-boyfriend, now-husband, saved me that first Mother’s Day post-divorce and he still buys us ice cream and takes us paddle boating on Lake Calhoun. In fact, after we hopped out of our paddle boat this Sunday, I actually said out loud, “Wow, we really look like a normal family.” My youngest replied, “Mom we’re definitely not normal, but we are a family.”

Yes baby girl, we are.

This week I hope you celebrate whatever kind of parent and family you are today.