Mother’s Day is a day my kids can easily be persuaded to take a hike and watch a movie with me. This year was muddier than last, though, so after we ambushed G-Ma with flowers from the Geneva French Market and made her some breakfast (Noah had generously booked a pricy patio brunch for us that to my relief was rained out, as I hate the idea of my kids spending so much on one meal), the kids and I settled on walking the dog together, followed by a cozy viewing of the first installment of Masterpiece Theater’s “Little Women” on PBS. Ahh! I’ve been trying to get Holly to watch one or another incarnation of the classic story for years, let alone read it, but with it being Mother’s Day and all I got to control the remote. Based upon the novel by Louisa May Alcott, “Little Women” is a coming of age story set during the American Civil War that chronicles the lives of sisters Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March as they navigate family dynamics and first love, loss and marriage. What a Mother’s Day treat!
But first I relished a rare nap, during which my kids went to the store to find ingredients for the chicken pot-pie Holly planned to make, which she’d learned to prepare from scratch in her culinary arts class at school. My all-time favorite comfort food. Talk about a cozy, perfect Mother’s Day, and I’d already managed to sneak in an episode of “The Waltons,” too! This one featured Jason’s conundrum when the Depression forced the music conservatory to cancel his scholarship, when he then hunted to find work so he could pay his tuition, when work was scarce, and took a job playing the piano at the Dew-Drop Inn – but I digress. It seemed the theme of this Mother's Day was triumph over struggles. Works for me.
I absolutely adored my kids’ early years, but I can’t lie, these days are swell, too. I do sense a shift afoot, though. Gone are the “Use your words” days when they were toddlers. Now it’s “Use your backup camera” – and this time the directive is issued from my daughter to me. But don’t let that fool you. There’s plenty of parenting left to do, even at 17 and 19. But yes, it really is more like mentoring. It requires a different tact. Less authority, more diplomacy, and some days straddling the two is tricky. Some days I have to really pick my battles. And some days? Some days are downright sweet.
“I could make another pie,” Holly said, the day after Mother's Day. “We have more pie crust and chicken broth and veggies,” she mused.
“You could? You could!” Mother’s Day 2.0 it is! How lucky am I?
Jennifer DuBose lives in Batavia with her family. Her column runs regularly in the Kane Weekend section of the Kane County Chronicle. Contact her at email@example.com.