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I have never been a big fan of Mother's Day--my first teaching job, well before my first mothering job, was at a residential school for children whose mothering had been mostly either non-existent or torturous. Our highest rate of restraints was always the week before Mother's Day. It's a day that sells a lot of cards but causes so much pain to so many people...
When my daughter asked if she could invite friends for a post prom party to our house in Rhode Island on Mother's Day, it never occurred to me to say no--that's my day. Some of my friends were surprised that I chose to spend Mother's Day making sure that a bunch of 18 year-olds stayed happy and safe, but I have to say it was like a Capstone mothering experience.
- They were fun. They jumped in the ocean on mutual dares from each other. (I think that the water might have been 60, but it might not have been even that warm.) They played kadima and chased tennis balls and built sand castles and threw frisbees. It was nice to see a bunch of adult-sized bodies act like little kids. (No, my husband and I did NOT stay with them at the beach, but we did go for a walk and passed them.)
- They were polite. They said thank you and please. They brought in their plates and their garbage, and they offered to help without ever being asked. Some of them even saw what needed to be done and did it.
- They were kind. They complimented our younger daughter Clare, who had come along to help out. While she spent most of her time with me and my husband, which was a wonderful Mother's Day gift, she served as their photographer, a perfect role for her. They were completely inclusive of each other. They snuggled, played, laughed, and cheered from each other.
All of the mothering milestones come up fast and furious. Not long ago, I struggled to take my girls to the beach, trying to figure out diapers and bottles and teaching toddlers to beware of rogue waves, and smothering sunscreen on to writhing bodies. Beach life got easier as we moved on to building elaborate castles and tunnels, coaching children to duck and dive waves, searching for sea glass and treasures, and packing picnics that would extend our beach days.
How great it was to see our oldest daughter share all of those memories and experiences with her friends who loved the beach, their day, and each other! What a great Mother's Day I had watching so much joy!