Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Truth About Mother's Day

" Happy Mother's Day."
" Oh, you, too!"

We women greet each other this way on this day. I did it myself many times already.  On the surface it says " I know that we belong to the same Motherhood Club, and I celebrate that commonality!"

But there is another meaning. It is deep in our eyes, visible only to each other. The real meaning is "  I hope you make it through the day without disappointing them. They try."

Some of us were woken far too early today, maybe with kisses and hugs. Maybe with breakfast in bed. And from the moment the day begins, we put on our masks that reveal " I love them, they are trying. ". In a kids mind, if it's harder, it's better. So the kisses are not gentle, the hugs are not tender. But we know this, we know that if they attempt to press their lips through our cheeks, the meaning is deeper, the intention more meaningful than a normal days kiss.

Breakfast in bed may be burnt toast, a bowl of cereal, a pancake. In our heads we know what the kitchen looks like after the creation of such a feast. But we take a bite of the cold pancake, soggy cereal, or burnt toast and try not to think about the crumbs in the bed,or the scrubbing the pans are going to need. We know that they learned that mom makes special treats for special days-- and would like the same. Ok, so they don't have the cooking skill we possess, but they MEAN well.

At church this morning I saw several women sporting corsages. Very sweet. I never got one, maybe I'm not the corsage type. Which is accurate. I would feel foolish sporting one, so I can't  personally comment on this. Maybe I am reading more into this gift than I should, but some of those women sported a look that said " My husband got this for me. He knows I like flowers. In a vase. On the table. At home. Far away from all the eyes that are drawn to this monstrosity resting on my bosom."

At my house a tradition was set years ago. Brian * makes* lunch for his mother and me. This entails a drive through the local KFC . We eat at our dining room table, today he forgot to set it so I scrambled as his mom got here. I'm not a fan of KFC, it's only OK, but the kids like it. And now that  it's tradition, it means so much to them that they can do this for us-- so it must be. Every year. yay.

I appreciate the effort, and I know that they who make it happen only do this once a year. They don't put three meals on the table everyday, they don't coordinate the other holiday celebrations, they don't even handle birthday parties. But they love us, and we them... so we lovingly accept  the flowers that they pulled, roots and all, from our own gardens. We gush over the gifts that cost far more than our budget allows, or the spa certificate we may never get the time to claim, or the regifted gift card that you got for your birthday and didn't like.We fawn over the fuss at the restaurant that isn't really our favorite. Maybe we get exactly the day and gifts we would pick for ourselves, but even then they are secondary. We see the love behind the celebration, and we love you so we  are happy and honored with whatever you do.

In the house I grew up in, my own mother never wanted anything and always said " Thank you, but Mother's Day should be everyday." At the time, as I know my kids think now, I thought " how silly! It's like your birthday, a once a year party for you!" Now I see it very differently, probably closer to how my mother saw it. Although I let my family make the fuss, and spend a good chunk of the day trying to sneak off for a nap.

The truth about Mothers Day is this: we enjoy it because we enjoy you. We let you make a fuss over us, even if it makes us uncomfortable, because we love you. We love being your Mom and if you want to celebrate that, then we will do whatever you want.

 However, if you asked me how I would like to celebrate mothers day, if it was entirely up to me and I wouldn't feel selfish about it, I would like a truckload of mulch in the driveway and a day of peace and quiet to myself to get it laid down. If my kids were grown and moved out-- I mean WHEN my kids are grown and moved out-- I probably will think very differently. But now I am in the trenches of raising them. I don't need them to come home, because they are already here. all. the. time.

That is the ugly truth of my deepest desired mothers day wishes---  a day to myself-- where I don't have to tell you to take your elbows off the table, or to slow down when you eat, or to stop sticking your finger under my nose to see if I am dead when really I'm just trying to take a nap, would be the greatest gift now.

 If I were to add one more caveat to my dream wish list, it would be that you knew how deeply I love you. How I willingly silently sacrifice myself for you each day and  wake up to do it again feeling blessed to be your Mother. I would want for you to feel, for just one moment because you could not take it for longer, your heart hasn't grown strong enough yet-- I would want for you to feel the depth and breadth and volume and weight of my love for you.

Happy Mother's Day to ALL  * insert look here*.


  1. I tried to get a gift certificate to the local Super 8 for a day/night of peace and quiet. HA HA Instead, I got two bottles of Red Bicyclette wine and a bag of Dove Dark Chocolates, PLUS two little sweeties who ran up to our bedroom this morning and yelled, "Happy Mother's Day, Mom! with smiles on their faces. I'll take it!

  2. I got the bowl of soggy cereal and cold toast, but it was awesome because they did it all by themselves with zero direction from any grown up. That pleased me, that they can think beyond themselves. Randy on the other hand gave me the obligatory flowers and then got upset because I wouldn't plan out the rest of my day. I refuse to plan out my own Mother's Day!!! Get a clue, buddy! Take care of the details for one freaking day, PLEASE!!! I take care of them every other day of the year (and wound up doing it for Mother's Day too). The stuff the kids do I think is sweet. The cluelessness of my husband, not so much.


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