Since Alden is our second, I have been through the pre-school and kindergarten Mother's Day celebrations at school a few times. When Kai was at Lauren's house when she was 2 and 3, the kids made us a special card and sang a song. At Spanish School, all the moms came to preschool for the morning and listened to the kids sing us a song, then we spent time at each of the pampering stations (they did our nails, brushed our hair, did a craft with us, etc) while eating scones and other treats the school had provided for us. At Thornhill, when she was in Kindergarten, I think she just came home with a card and some sort of craft. Then, in 1st grade, the moms went to school and got seated by our children at their desk and they scampered off to fetch us coffee and pastries. After we had our morning treat, they sang us a song and we were on our way.
Maybe it's because of these prior experiences that I didn't read the email about Alden's preschool Mother's Day celebration with the utmost attention. I knew that we were going on a picnic with our children and taking a bus to the park. I knew I needed to be to the school at 10 AM. So, I dropped Alden off in the morning and went to a nearby coffee shop to work for a couple of hours before the designated meeting time. Alden was so excited when I returned, flying into my arms to give me a hug and declare that we were "going on a BUS to the PICNIC!" It was very cute. One of the teacher's asked me if I could also be Sophie's chaperone for the day, since her Mom couldn't make it and she and Alden were such close friends. I agreed, of course. We listened to the instructions in circle time, got our bus passes, and lined up to go the bus stop. The kids had also told their teachers what they loved about their mom, and there was a collage of their statements on the wall. Alden said he loved when I picked him up and when I took him to Will's house -- which, of course, I took a picture of and sent to Cathy. It was pretty cute.
We go to the parent meetings at Alden's school and all the social events they put on, so I had seen most of the moms before. Although, that said, I didn't know anyone very well besides one or two other moms, that I've talked to more extensively a few times. But, we chatted and rode the bus to the park. When we got there, all the other moms started pulling out large picnic blankets. I had a purse on me. Nothing else. I hadn't noticed, until that moment, that the other moms had larger bags and backpacks. But, now it appeared there was a reason. I looked around for someone I knew to try to sit with. Meanwhile, the kids gathered together to sing us a song, so I stopped looking for a place to sit and went to where I could watch the performance. It was super cute -- Alden had been singing the song to me for a couple of days, so I knew what was coming, but it is always adorable to see them all singing together.
After the song, the kids ran to their moms, who turned and walked them back to the picnic blankets. Ugh. Back to this. Only, now, everyone also started pulling out the lunches they had brought for their children. LUNCHES! Ack! Seriously. Since when is a Mother's Day celebration a day when you have to take off work, pack your child and you a lunch, bring something to sit on, and then watch your child at the park? The school was essentially celebrating Mother's Day by giving their folks a day off while the mommies did what mommies do -- watch their kids!
So, I had no food. And I had not one, but two kids. Sophie looked up at me and said, "Did you bring my lunch?" Of course not! I hadn't brought anyone lunch. One of the teacher's intervened, claiming it was their fault they hadn't grabbed Sophie's lunch. I didn't mention that Alden was also lunchless. I think they assumed I had food for me and Alden.
Alden didn't really seem to care. He wanted to go play on the playground. And was thrilled to have me with him for the day. He had sat on my lap on the bus and held my hand when we were walking outside . He gave me repeated hugs and kisses. He was beyond thrilled. And, we found another mom, that I barely knew, to sit with and she shared both her blanket and her food with us. I made self-deprecating jokes about my inability to read emails... my go to way of handling these awkward moments. And, it was fine. Not my finest moment, but it ended up being a fine day thanks to the generosity and kindness of other moms and the sweetness and cuddles of my little boy.
I was recounting the day to another friend later on who, besides thinking it was hilarious, reminded me that all that really mattered was I was there. I suppose that's true -- but, do think that Mother's Day Celebrations that expect the moms to do all the work are not really celebrations... just saying.
On the actual day, the kids made be breakfast, cards and let me stay upstairs by myself for a few hours while they cooked. We went to pizza with some of my favorite families for dinner and had a lovely day in between riding bikes and playing at the park. It was as Mother's Day should be!