“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.”  ~Washington Irving

The year that I finally stopped expecting one mother’s day to be unlike all the others, they started to get good. All of the devoted attention that mothering cultivates in us becomes a daily practice, a routine of care that we even come to take for granted. The years that I felt most invisible, like no one really noticed what I did, I needed recognition. I thought the thanks would be enough to fill me up. Those mother’s days were full of conflict and unmet needs.

I almost came to dread mothers day, as even in childhood, my relationship with my mother was not the model of loving that I yearned for or wanted to emulate. It is no wonder that the day after Mother’s Day ranks second to the day after Valentines Day for the most female sign-ups on Ashley Madison. Women feel betrayed when their efforts go unnoticed and unappreciated.

My continuous efforts with the positivity quest have filled me up with an appreciation for myself that creates a neural pathway in my brain to actually feel and recognize the many forms of loving appreciation coming at me. The more that I have been able to let go of my ideas of what someone else should do or say, there is no more keeping up with the disappointment. There is just an open space where other things can come in.

The greatest gift that motherhood offers over time is the ability to let things be as they are and letting people be as they are. This is a lifelong study guide to finding the honest goodness that is around us always. It is easy to be blind to this if we are stuck trying to make it something else, always clearly focused on what is missing. Most tragic of all is when we do this in our closest relationships. I have spent months at a time trying to dig my way out of this place with my children at different moments and with my marriage over the years. This is a form of slow poisoning for the relationships we love.

Now the day that has a few little surprises, a few more hugs and a shared meal is pretty magical. Hand drawn cards with silly poems and images are more than enough. It was a good day, and tomorrow I get to have another.