I remember my first mother's day. That exciting feeling inside knowing that I had joined that special, highly praised, courageous, elite group of women that had the honor of being called, "mommy" by some little being (or many little beings).
It was an exciting day spent with my new six month old baby, my husband, my mom, sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. A day of lounging by a pool and taking pictures.
The next year... my baby was just over a year old and my marriage was coming to an end. I remember a picture someone took of me with my daughter and the far away look I had in my face knowing that our new little family was about to blow up, turn upside down, and fall to the ground in whatever pieces were left.
The next mother's day I was officially divorced, living in an apartment with my 2 1/2 year old, joining that other elite, courageous, group of women known as "single mom's".
I never knew I would be doing the mom thing alone. But, being a single mom is all I have known. I have no idea what it's like to share the load. To come home and have someone else give the bath, help with homework, get the medicine when the fever hits, go on the field trips, handle the meltdowns, bring home the groceries, pay the bills, plan the birthday parties or simply carry the little angel to bed.
And while I sometimes envy my girlfriend's with incredible husbands who do their part (like the time I nearly drooled watching my best friend's husband change a light-bulb in the ceiling) I wouldn't trade my single mom life with Hannah for anything.
And on the days that she does go to her father's I literally count the seconds until she is with me again. Because the truth is... I don't want to miss a moment of her life.
That isn't to say I'm not completely open to the idea of a beautiful man entering the scene and helping hang a mirror that I've had in a closet for nearly three years or figuring out why my internet connection goes on and off randomly or setting up my television so I get all the channels.
But... I'll figure it out. I always do.
And lately, if I don't, my girl does. When did that happen?
That's what struck me most this mother's day. Looking at her long legs that no longer fit her jeans, her incredible use of vocabulary when writing me a mother's day poem, her full mouth of teeth coming in at all directions, her increasingly complex questions about the world.
They tell you it goes fast and you don't listen until you realize you're crying as you pass the hallway of baby pictures, first day of pre-school pictures and so on because it does indeed all go so fast.
This is my 9th year as a mom on mother's day. And the cards get longer, and the handwriting clearer, and the sentiment more grown up and I am blown away that she is almost too big to pick up (almost -- I refuse to give it up!).
And you start doing the numbers; in six years she'll be driving, in seven she'll be applying to college in eight she'll be gone -- screw eight! Can't handle eight. Let's go back to six.
I wish it could all slow down. And sometimes I think our kids do too. A few nights ago my daughter said, "Mommy, this is the last year I'll be in single digits. Next year I'm ten, two digits. I don't want to leave single digits."
She's thinking in digits and I'm thinking how much time do I have left to make money to buy her a house with a yard.
So, another Mother's Day comes and goes.
And, my mother, being the incredibly thoughtful single mom that she is, always remembers to take Hannah out "secretly" to buy me a mother's day present just in case her dad forgot again to do so.
I love being a mom. I love being a single mom. And, most of all, I love that I remember to savor the dimples on my daughter's knuckles for as long as I can... before they disappear.