Every year around this time, I start looking forward to mother's day. Not for the bought gifts and fancy plans but for the homemade arts and crafts my big girl brings home from pre-school so proud and for the secretive planning my husband starts working on weeks in advance.
For those who know me, I am apparently a bit hard to keep a secret from. That combined with the fact that I work from home and pretty much know where everything is and recognize hidden items, makes me a challenging person to surprise. However, I love surprises. So my husband has taken to unexpected homemade dinners and other neat treats to allow us to celebrate this special day each year.
Today we had a family made dinner of a pizza bubble ring (sounds as cool as it is to eat), veggies and a special treat to finish it off. It was fun making the food with our kids and spending time together as a family. I also enjoyed a few hours off on my own to clear my head and walk around downtown.
Its always days like this when I think about my own mother and my recent trip to her grave in Massachusetts when we were in Boston for Passover. I have secretly always loved going to her cemetery, not just because I get to visit with her and my dear nana, may they rest in peace, but also because they are buried in a field surrounded by beautiful calming trees in a park of only plaques in the ground. Headstones have always bothered me, like people competing for attention and showing off their worldly possessions even after they have passed on. There is something soothing about seeing nature around us and knowing they are there underground with only a simple stone plaque surrounded by chirping birds and swaying trees.
I have also begun working on my May project which is overcoming my fear of public speaking. I have to get up in front of my entire synagogue next shabbat morning (that's 285 families worth of folks) and share my blog project and discuss my recent successes during my month of service where our synagogue won a very prestigious greening award. I keep asking myself what is it that makes me so fearful. Is it the people----no. The announcement of our award---no. Perhaps its the fear of opening up in such an active fashion. Unlike writing my blog or being featured in articles (check out this coming week's Washington Jewish Week for example), public speaking not only lets your voice be heard when you are sharing your emotions, but also requires you to show your face, your expressions to those around you. What if they reject what I say? What if they wanted me to say something else?
Its days like these when I am encompassed by the love of my family in a day-long extravaganza,that I remind myself that its ok to be loved, that its ok to let others show you what you mean to them, and that its ok to share who I am with others. Its the famous adage "better to have loved than lost than never to have loved at all" that is keeping me going. I wouldn't be me if I didn't lose my mom and I wouldn't be having this amazing year of experiences and internal struggles if I didn't set out a goal for myself to push myself to face these fears. Its game time as they say and I'm ready to rumble. Here goes nothing.....