Typically Mother’s Day leaves me… disappointed. It doesn’t live up to the expectations, the hype. Even our 4-year-old son said to my husband this year (too late, mind you), “Daaad, you have to get Mom a Mother’s Day present!”

But Mother’s Day ranks among the Hallmark holidays in my family (I’m sorry, Hallmark; I really don’t intend for you to be my scapegoat). You get a card or two and brunch, and call it a day. And while a heartfelt gift would certainly be accepted, all I really want is appreciation. A little acknowledgment that I’ve done more than simply keep our kids alive for the past year.

I realized this year that I typically ask my husband to keep our kids away from me on Mother’s Day. Isn’t that nice and warm and fuzzy? “Kids, I love you. Now sit over there and don’t touch me.” But I had a change of heart… except for diaper duty, which I let my husband keep.

Yes, I’m so.damn.exhausted. I didn’t realize this mom gig came with no vacation benefits! But when it comes down to it, I actually enjoy being around our children, particularly in the moments when they’re not testing the limits of my patience or generally behaving like demon spawn.

I’m proud to be their mom, and it’s heartwarming to hear our son articulate that he wouldn’t trade me for another. I’m proud to have a hand in the people they’re becoming (of course they’re people already, but they’re evolving!). They’re growing up — as ancient as nearly 5 years and 19 months, respectively, are — and this year I had more of an opportunity to appreciate them.

I sat between our son and daughter at brunch. I talked with my mom and took trips to the buffet table with my grandmother (who is 88 and counting). And I was happy, which is saying a lot in through here.

I will add that my husband offered an IOU for a spa package (when our budget allows, which may be never), and I do intend to hold him to it. ;)