© Sue SchlabachI don’t ask for much on Mother’s Day. I often share it with my husband’s birthday, and so I’ve spent the day at a few ballparks over the years, and that’s okay with me.

But this morning Mother’s Day dawned with a bit of overcast that began to clear. Birdsong through our open windows was the alarm clock we hadn’t set. It was chilly, but not so much that we didn’t take our tea and breakfast out to the table on the patio. Above us crabapple blossoms drifted down like lazy benevolent snowflakes and the buzzing of bees hummed over our heads. R let out the lambs and the chickens who gamboled about (lambs) and waddled through the gardens in search of grubs and seeds (hens). Really nothing could have made me happier—hanging out with my family and the critters under the sky eating breakfast.

It brought to mind the morning 10 years ago and my very first Mother’s Day as an, um, mother.

Mother’s Day was not on my radar at all because it was the exact day of my husband’s birthday. My parents watched the wee baby and I went with R on an hour’s jaunt south to watch him play baseball with a southern Vermont league. Back then he was a stay-at-home dad, and playing ball on the weekend was his escape from diapers and repeated readings of Goodnight Moon.

That day we got to the ball field early for warmups. I dropped him off and went to Brattleboro in search of coffee and The New York Times Sunday edition. At game time it began to sprinkle. I left the bleachers for the comfort of the car, faced the field, and worked on the crossword while keeping track of the game. The rain got heavier, but they played to the 9th inning.

Afterward, we planned to go to brunch at a favorite cafe and chocolate shop—Burdicks— in nearby Walpole, New Hampshire. The birthday boy was soaked through but found something dry to change into in the back of the car. We were on our own without the responsibility of a baby (though we were crazy ’bout that baby!) and were giddy as we heading up route 5 north. Rain or no rain, we had a birthday to celebrate!!

The parking lot at Burdicks was packed. Huh? Sunday, we guessed.

In the doorway we had our first aha moment when we saw the room packed with families in all manner of Sunday finery. We were in our damp and disheveled ballgame closes. Eek. Not a free table in site. Right, it’s Mother’s Day.

Burdick’s waitstaff could have easily turned us away with an upturned nose, but instead—to their credit, which has earned them our lifelong devotion—they invented a new seating area at the counter near the cash register, locating stools in the back kitchen, and proceeded to serve us as though we had booked a table weeks in advance.

Happy birthday. Happy Mother’s Day. And all that.

© Sue Schlabach

© Sue Schlabach