Photo courtesy of Jody Smith
I've been a mom for 33 years. I've been a grandmother for 10. I have five children and four grandchildren.
This year is a bit different for me though because for the first time, one of my grandchildren will be around on Mother's Day. She and her parents don't live far away and we make the most of that.
When I was a kid being forced to make crafts in school, my appreciation for my mother may have been overshadowed a bit. But by my teens I was enjoying the challenge of doing something fun for my mom.
The first year I bought her pretty earrings, made her an omelet and finished things off with strawberries and ice cream.
My own first Mother's Day was stupid. I had read an article that encouraged mothers to throw off the tyranny of their families and tell them to go away so I could have a good time on my own.
If that sort of thing works for you, fantastic. But it bummed out my husband, and I had a lousy boring afternoon, missing my family. My 8-month-old son didn't mind it, he got to spend the afternoon with his father so he was fine.
We had four more children over the next eight years, and Mother's Day became a big deal, thanks to my husband, my mother and my willing crew of kids.
Gifts and treats came my way, and meals were prepared and cleaned up after without my lifting a finger.
While my mother and mother-in-law were still with us, we would all pack up and go to each of their houses with gifts. Sometimes we'd split up the visits throughout the weekend. Always it was a whirlwind of activity, hugs and gift-giving.
Gradually all my kids grew up. Some moved away across the country. Gatherings were smaller and quieter with the child-factor no longer in the picture. We'd have dinner with our kids and their partners, and there were often presents for little ol' me.
We'd have some conversation, take a few pictures. Nice, you know? Very different from the earlier decades of messy noisy chaos. This has been the new status quo for several years and I think everyone was fine with it.
Then, when a grandchild was born to her parents who only lived 45 minutes away from us, though, a certain gleeful anticipation began to grow.