So that’s another Mother’s Day under my belt. Honestly, I don’t know why we call it Mother’s Day since it really only lasts the 30 or so minutes between when my husband and son plop a breakfast tray in my lap and when they dump their own breakfast dishes into the sink for me to wash.
Frankly, if it didn’t run a risk of confusing the hell out of my son I’d insist we skip Mother’s Day and just celebrate Father’s Day twice: once for my husband, and once for me. Because, you see, Father’s Day really does last a day. A beautiful day. A quiet day. Father’s Day involves breakfast in bed, too, but instead of washing everyone’s dishes and cleaning the kitchen, dads spend their day golfing, fishing or doing whatever men do in their workshops. A mom who asks to have the entire day to herself–child-free–runs the risk of being labeled that worst of all possible things: a Selfish Mommy.
Something else Mother’s Day involves: shopping for not only my own mother but my husband’s mom, too, then ensuring the gifts are wrapped and shipped so they arrive on time accompanied by carefully selected cards reflective of their individual personalities. Also, phone calls. Mind you, I’m not complaining about those: I figure both of our mothers have lived through their own crappy, disappointing Mother’s Days and, for having let us survive mostly psychologically intact, they’ve earned their homage. That’s something that motherhood taught me, you see.
Unfortunately, motherhood has also taught me that Mother’s Day is never as important to anyone as it is to a Mom. It’s not about the loot, really. It’s not about perfume or flowers or sparkley greeting cards emblazoned with pastel roses and bad poetry. It’s not even about breakfast in bed, although that actually can be quite nice.
It’s about taking our family’s pulse, about seeing–on a year by year basis–if we’re doing okay. Have we taught our kids to be thoughtful and respectful of others? Have we demonstrated to them the importance of being loving, generous and kind? Have we shown them, in both word and deed, how crucial it is to let those we love know how much we love them, because time passes so quickly and often leaves us with more regrets than good memories?
As I learned yesterday, there is only so much a parent can do to instill these things in their kids. Eventually, kids outgrow the joy they once got seeing Mom smile as she opened a sweet, handmade card or sniffed a bouquet of dandelions picked in the backyard. Eventually, they break our hearts.
But that’s okay, really. I’m fine with it. I’m totally over the fact that my own daughter — no longer the baby who once threw up on my clothes the instant we walked out the door, or the toddler who painted my brand-new TV with nail polish, or the pre-teen who blamed me because she was the shortest in her class but who blamed me the following year when she was the tallest — couldn’t be troubled to send a card or place a phone call. It’s all right. Really. I’ll get over my hurt feelings, eventually… Right around the time next month that she’s celebrating her 19th birthday.
See, that’s another thing motherhood taught me: Payback’s a bitch, babe.