Mother’s Day was the first day this year that weather, free time and a willingness to put on special padded spandex shorts conspired to let me get out on the bike for a substantial ride.
By substantial, I mean multi-hour, multi-mile, multi-neighborhood, multi-water-bottle tear through the city. I come home a reeking, sunburned mass of sweat and wicking fabric with a Joker grin that lasts for hours.
I’m slow and clumsy in spring, less likely to race cars and more likely to stop for large sandwiches than I will be by August. But on this first substantial ride of the season, the slowness gave me plenty of time to see the mothers.
Mothers jogging with their daughters. Mothers along the bike path walking with whole families, in the center clutching the flowers they were given. Mothers coming to or from brunches, lunches, early dinners.
Up the bike path, through the neighborhoods, in and around spots I found interesting, there were the usual assortments of jogging jocks, fellow riders and people just meandering around this town.
But on this day, the percentage of moms out with their families was ratcheted up. Not as dramatic as a whole town of moms, flooding the streets like a flash mob of women who want to make sure you’re eating enough, but something I can safely attest to. There were more mothers per capita that day than most.
Mothers smiling, mothers laughing, mothers still pulled into service on their day by a crying kid or a stroller that still needed pushing.
And one mom sitting alone.
She was sitting on a grassy field that started along Lawrence and Clark, the sadness of the moment already given away by people who recognize the intersection.
She was a middle-aged woman with short “Mom” hair. She sat in the field alone, leaning back a little, one arm braced to hold her up, the other reclining awkwardly on her knee. She looked like she was in a constant state of readjusting herself on the uncomfortable ground.
It was a moment as I zipped by, all sweat and sunburn. I couldn’t tell if she was talking to the stone next to her or just looking at it.
In St. Boniface Catholic Cemetery.
On Mother’s Day.
Between this and Wednesday’s story, it’s been a maternal week here. Let’s read a couple for the dads.