Celestia stood on her balcony and smiled at the distant horizon. It was already growing bright as her sun slowly drew nearer. She coaxed the sun gently upwards with the utmost care. Today was a special day, and Celestia wanted it to be absolutely perfect.
Slowly the light grew, the few clouds near the horizon catching the sun's rays and turning gold, while the sky behind them flushed a perfect pink. The Canterhorn above her caught the light next, the snowy peak reflecting the pink and gold of the morning sky. The sky just on the horizon brightened further, to a gold that was almost white.
Then at last the sun itself peeked above the distant mountains, sending a warm flood of sunshine out into the world. It edged Celestia's coat, tinting the pearlescent white with honeyed golden light.
Her smile grew just a little bit broader and more satisfied. The sunrise had been absolutely perfect. As the gold of dawn that had colored the clouds brightened to the soft white of a lovely spring day, a team of pegasi cleared them away, leaving the sky a pure, limitless blue. Everything was just right on this special day, exactly as it had been every year since Celestia herself had established this holiday at the request of her little ponies.
Yet once the immortal alicorn retired to her room, the smile on her face vanished, to be replaced by an expression of gentle melancholy.
It was Mother's Day. Once called Dam's Day, the holiday had been a tradition for more than a century now. All over Equestria colts and fillies would be honoring their mothers with gifts of food and flowers. Breakfasts would be served in bed, or picnics would be had, and fathers would take care of the chores their wives normally performed, while the mothers smiled and laughed when their husbands managed to do them all wrong.
Meanwhile the only part Celestia had in the holiday was to raise the sun so that the day would be as beautiful as possible. Her own mother was many centuries gone. And while the alicorn had done many, many things over her long life, there was one thing she had never done. She had never been a mother. She reminded herself, as she sat at her desk and began the day's paperwork, that she had too many responsibilities to look after a foal. She had seldom even found time for a mate down the centuries, certainly now she had none.
Even if she had currently possessed a consort, and were to decide she wanted to have children soon, everything she knew about the future suggested that now was absolutely not the time for such things. Dire calamities loomed on the horizon, and she would need all her time and energy to deal with them. Any foal she had would be sadly neglected. It was true, yet still some small part of her regretted it.
"I am the mother of all Equestria," she said with a quiet smile. "I have a thousand, thousand foals. My subjects love me, and I love them." That too was true, yet still she couldn't help but imagine what it would be like to hear foalish hooves in the hall outside as her son or daughter carried flowers, no doubt with a hoof-made card dripping with glitter and glue, to give to her.
Suddenly she did hear hooves, and her ears pricked up in surprise. The gait was even that of a foal, rapid and light on the marble floor outside her room. She stared at the door in surprise. She heard low voices as whoever it was conferred with the guards outside the door.
A moment later, the door swung open to reveal the familiar form of a small purple unicorn. "Hi, Princess Celestia!"
"Twilight?" Celestia frowned faintly at her student. "You should be at home, with your mother." Twilight had been living in the castle for several years now, ever since becoming Celestia's personal student, but Celestia was quite certain she'd sent the filly home to her family yesterday, so she could be with them for the holiday.
"Shiny is making the breakfast in bed, Princess. I'll go in just a minute to help him give it to Mom, and to give her my present, but first I needed to do something."
Her horn was glowing, and a moment later she pulled a bouquet of flowers out from behind her. A construction paper card was tied to the bouquet. She floated card and flowers together to Celestia. "Happy Mother's Day!"
Celestia gaped at the flowers, taking them in her magic in something of a daze. "But... I am not your mother."
"You're kind of like my mother. You take care of me and teach me and I come to your room when I get scared at night, just like Mom when I lived at home. I knew that you haven't got any foals to give you flowers, and that was kind of sad, so I got you some!"
Celestia opened the card. Inside was a crayon drawing of her standing next to Twilight. Her mane and tail had been covered in glitter, which had gotten small sparkles all over the rest of the card as well. On the other half of the card it said "Happy Mother's Day to my teacher who is like a mother even if she isn't."
"I... I don't know what to say. Thank you, Twilight."
"I gotta go now! Shiny will be done with breakfast soon. Bye, Princess Celestia!"
Twilight waved cheerily, then turned and trotted back down the hall.
Celestia lowered her nose to the flowers and inhaled the sweet scent, a sheen of tears hazing her vision. "Thank you, Twilight," she repeated in a soft whisper. "Thank you very much."