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From the moment you know you’re going to have a child, Mother’s Day is a holiday full of expectations. I’m realistic enough to know it will never be a Hallmark-perfect day (because kids) — but I do look forward to feeling relaxed and appreciated, while appreciating the other moms in my life. This year, I’m not sure what to hope for while we’re stuck at home. It’s not like we’ve been longing for time “just to be together” as a family.

I know my husband and son will do their best, and even if we’ve spent every single minute in the same apartment for the past two months, it will be a nice day together. But since this is a holiday meant to indulge moms, allow me to indulge myself in an exercise of longing for Mother’s Day in the before times. Here what I’ll be missing most:

1. Brunch in a restaurant.
My mouth waters picturing that honored ritual, the Mother’s Day brunch, with piles of fruit and bacon and French toast and mimosas, cooked by a chef and served by real live waiters who were not risking their lives to do so. But actually, come to think of it, I think the last time I went to brunch on Mother’s Day was in the ’90s with my own mother. So, let’s say…

2. Not having brunch in a restaurant … by choice.
Maybe where you live holiday brunch is still a fun thing. In New York, we’re talking two-hour waits for a table (heaven forbid a restaurant take reservations) and a very over-priced meal. But I do enjoy when my husband makes French toast at home, and then we go for a walk around the neighborhood quietly mocking all the suckers standing in line.

3. Mother’s Day “gifts” from school.
I miss real school for so many more reasons than this, but those special art projects teachers have the kids make — picture frames, pottery, paintings, cards — have always turned me into a puddle of mush. Now if I want my son to make me something I have to hover over him for every agonizing minute of the process. Maybe the husband has done this when I wasn’t looking?

4. Ditching my family to get a mani-pedi.
Can’t you just picture it now? That liberating moment when you kiss your family goodbye and venture out — not to stand in socially distanced line at the grocery store but to have another person massage your limbs and make them pretty? TMI: I just removed 3-month-old nail polish from my toe nails last night. It wasn’t pleasant. But I don’t even care so much about the state of my nails as much as I miss that completely frivolous hour spent by myself — with other women doing the same.

5. Ditching my family to go shopping for myself.
Remember clothing stores? Remember trying on clothing before you bought them? This was a thing I did on my first Mother’s Day, and just the act of stepping into a dressing room without a stroller felt glorious.

6. Being with any extended family members.
Since my own mother died nine years ago, we’ve spent several past Mother’s Days with aunts — mine or my husband’s. If you ever have the chance again, I recommend this alternative to the potential drama of being with your actual mother or mother-in-law — lower stakes, higher rewards. But right now, I’d love to spend time with any member of my extended family, NOT via Zoom or Facetime.

7. Having a moms’ night out.
This isn’t necessarily a Mother’s Day thing, but my god, do I miss going out to dinner with a group of other moms and drinking enough that we talk too loudly and look unmistakably like a group of moms who escaped their families.

8. Not feeling like I shouldn’t enjoy myself because so many others are suffering.
I just finished writing an article about how one in five mothers can’t even feed their children enough. There are people sick and dying. In that light, this post is selfish and frivolous, and I feel awful for daring to mention missing all those past luxuries. Please, forget I wrote any of this. Head back over to that story where you find out how to help some moms who need it, and I’ll shut up now.

There is so much to be grateful for. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

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