A mixed bag of emotions consumes me on this Mother's Day.
I am on one hand so incredibly thankful for my son Adam and daughter Sarah, both of whom with their individual personalities and unique wiring make me proud to call them my baby chicks.
Sometimes I step back in admiration and wonder aloud, "Are they really related to me?"
Their gift to yours truly today is the joy of who they were as infants, toddlers and teens and the delight of who they have become as young adults.
Of course, if they want to present me with a small - or really, really big - token of their appreciation, fine and dandy. I confess - I'm a material mother. Me like gifts.
The proud mommy feelings today, however, compete strongly with some more sobering sentiments.
As caregiving responsibilities for my mother gave way to Plan B alternatives mentally mapped out way in advance but never really envisioned as one day coming to pass, I find myself adrift anew in an ocean of conflicting feelings, good and bad.
I am relieved, yes, and grateful, too, I confess, for a return to daily freedoms that in retrospect I had taken for granted, including my normal schedule that despite many demands had at least allowed for some spontaneity and a nap here and there at leisure.
Caregiving can be quite the thief of such simple pleasures.
But the sigh of relief at getting reacquainted with a how-it-used-to-be style of living settles in with an aftertaste not easily washed away.
Support and unsolicited opinions have both comforted and caught me off guard, convincing me that there's a book on caregiving just waiting to flow from my head and heart to my fingertips and the letters on my keyboard.
Suffice it to say that I celebrate on this Mother's Day 2014 who my mother was, and yes, who she is, and all that she's done for me in ways that I've always known and in ways I have come to realize for the first time.
They are reflections that arrive in the midst of that lump-in-the-throat reality that change creeps or crashes into all of our lives, like it or not, ready or not.
So while I thank God for my kids, I acknowledge, too, that my heart is a bit heavy today, and not just for myself.
In my circle of friends and acquaintances, I am reminded of those who are cycling through their first Mother's Day without their mother.
And there are those mothers mourning the loss of a son or daughter.
To you all, God bless.
(Kiaski, a resident of Richmond, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)