I don't love the day for a multitude of reasons.
I remember a conversation I had with my mother when I was quite young, about celebrating Mother's Day. She said she didn't celebrate it. Her belief was that everyday is Mother's Day. I never really quite got it. I would make a handmade card and my father would take me to the florist, or, when I got older, would give me money to pick out some flowers. I seem to remember getting daisies all the time. My mother doesn't like the fussier flowers, like roses and all. She doesn't like anything to be fussy. And perhaps that's why she was never big on Mother's Day. She had one child and I was perfect. :) All kidding aside, I really was an easy child. I knew my limits and very rarely tested them, even in my teen years. I respected and almost feared my mother. We were/are very close but she was the disciplinarian. She set the rules. She was strict and she was tough. But we had fun and laughter... there was lots of fun and lots of laughter. But Mother's Day always fell on a Sunday, as it does now, and Sunday was truly her day of rest and relaxation. My father always sauntered off to the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) where he would walk around the world's finest paintings for several hours and I went off to Sunday School. Mom stayed home and did the New York Times Crossword and filled each and every empty square. My father and I returned home by about 12:30 and we'd all have a lovely brunch together and then I would either go play quietly by myself or head off to a friend's house for the afternoon. My Sundays are nothing like this!
Now, I really don't subscribe to my mother's beliefs that everyday is Mother's Day - at all. But maybe I should stop celebrating... or expecting to. But in a sense my mother is right, I suppose. Really, this one Sunday in May is no different from any other Sunday. It's jam-packed and filled with chaos and the same madness that every other Sunday, or day of the week for that matter, has. So you want to go out to lunch? So do all the other mothers out there. Trying to get a reservation to your favorite restaurant can often be as unsettling as the day itself. Trying to get your young children to not bicker, sit still and behave can often be a challenge...
Fourteen years ago I had huge expectations for the day. I thought I would relax and be pampered. I thought the day would be magical - magical in the way we all wish Valentine's Day or New Year's Eve would be. My first year disappointed as did my second... and most that came after. Now I'm not meaning to come across as an ungrateful bitch, but I think my expectations were unrealistically high. In all honesty my husband really tried... I got flowers, lovely breakfasts, gift certificates to salons... all that a tired and exhausted mother could want, but in the end it comes down to the children. Sometimes they cannot be tamed. Whether a colicky, screaming baby or two toddlers fighting or not getting their way... there was always something that put a damper on Mother's Day.
And there were many years I had to share Mother's Day with my ex mother in law. Now, while I like and have always really liked my ex mother in law, I really never loved sharing the day. A relaxed morning would then turn into chaos as we hurriedly bathed and dressed the kids and ourselves to get out the door on time - of course we were late, year after year. And she always prepared a lovely meal but those meals were also perpetually interrupted by one child or another, or all three. Little children can be controlled to a certain degree... I remember having to leave the table during my meal, almost every year, to take care of a child of mine or all three or mine and everyone else's children. It saddened me and looking back I think I resented it. I spoke up a few times, but I think I should have been stronger in my convictions and spoken up louder. So many Mother's Days ended up in tears... mine. I think, really more than anything, I was looking for a break which is what, more than any gift, an exhausted mother really wants.
So now, after 14 years, Mother's Day, to me is sort of sad and melancholy. Perhaps even more so now, as a single mother. Definitely more now, as a single mother. Like all those holidays that have come and gone, I am sort of wishing this one away. Right or wrong, it's how I feel. And I suppose all those childless mothers out there are screaming at me, telling me that I should be grateful and that bratty or not, whiny or not, misbehaving or not, that I should be grateful. And my heart goes out to every woman that has lost a child or has been unable to have a child... I have known many and I know how hard this day is for them as well...
I am grateful for my three...You have no idea how grateful. There is no love as strong as that love between a mother and her child... whether the child is behaving badly or not. And some days when it seems like nothing is going my way, and I am fighting, struggling to make it through the day, the week, the month, the year... I see my own flesh and blood and they are reminders of how unconditional love really can be, even when they are behaving badly. There's something I say to my children all the time when they are not well behaved or have done something to make me angry. I will say "I may not like you very much at the moment, but I will always love you." And then I cannot help but wonder if mothers still feel that way when their children have gone way way way off track...
I have learned to be realistic. I have learned not to expect too much - I have learned to expect nothing at all, really. I have gotten older, wiser and more sensible. I cannot expect my children to appreciate all that I do. I cannot expect them to understand how much work they are - laundry, cooking, chauffeuring, nursing while trying to build a career and balance the checkbook, nor do I expect them to until they have families of their own. But this girl, this mother, is a dreamer. I admit to wanting the fairy tale. Just as a little girl dreams of her Prince taking her away to live happily ever after, this mother wants, just one day where there will be no bickering, whining, conflict... I want the day that ends happily ever after.