Friday, May 9, 2008

a nod to mother's day. sort of.

I have ambiguous feelings about Mother's Day. Why is this? I have been thinking about it all week and I haven't really come to a conclusion.

This morning, while brushing my daughter's hair, it occurred to me that Mother's Day feels a lot like my birthday. Which is to say, at this point in my life, a day I look forward to with mild emotions, and then it passes and I move on.

For my kids' birthdays I put up balloons and ribbons so when they wake up in the morning some part of the house has been transformed. Because. It is their BIRTHDAY!!!! For myself, that doesn't quite pull it off. For one thing, I'm the one who will probably be cleaning it up, so really in the big scheme of things, not having one more thing to pick up usually outweighs any decorations that might go up. But they LOVE it. And I love doing it for them.

The thing about getting older, is that most of the time, nobody creates the magic for you. For one thing, it's a lot more expensive to create the magic for an adult, than for a child. (What, no plane ticket to Rome this year?)

* * * * *

Maybe it's the Expectation of a Special Day that I resent. That there should be "magic". A cultural expectation, or maybe actually, a marketing strategy, that builds up Mother's Day (and every other possible special day) as a day to CELEBRATE!

And sure! Why not? But the culture/marketing of a Special Day means it needs to be Different from the norm. I think maybe that's why I resent it a little bit. Because I know that right now Mother's Day is more for my kids, who have spent a week coming up with breakfast menus, and writing funny love notes, and making projects at school that they are so excited about sharing.

The breakfast will be middling, the notes sweet, and the project enjoyable because my daughter made it and I can ooh and ahh over it. But it won't be about me so much as about motherhood; the constant flow from mother to child. The love, the praise, the reassurance.

Which is good. It's really good. I will enjoy it. But it won't be different from the norm. It'll just be the same. Which is what a lot of young motherhood is. The norm. Usually an exhaustive norm. And the variations on that theme span a variety of things
(funny things said, really poopy diapers, cute little pictures, kids who can't leave each other alone, oatmeal for dinner etc., etc.) but not with so much variety that every day is a brand new dream.

I think I must be tired because I sound so bah-humbuggy.

It's good to be a mother. It's Great to be a mother. I wouldn't give it up for anything else. It's complicated though, because you are apparently entitled to some special day by virtue of bearing children, and what you really want for Mother's Day is a weekend alone. How can that be right? And like motherhood, that's what it's all about, too. There's always that guilt on the side to go with the fact that you aren't really turning cartwheels about Mother's Day. And some how you should be.

Really I don't want a weekend alone for Mother's Day. (Give that to me on a regular weekend. Hee.) I just wanted to put it out there to the world of the internets, that I have ambiguous feelings about Mother's Day. So there you go.

* * * * *

This morning during family prayer my son turned on the only video game in the house; a portable Tetris game. My daughter started to say the prayer and he turned on the game and then folded his arms as the Tetris tune accompanied my daughter's heavenly requests. I reached over and hit the button to turn off the music. My son looked up at me, turned the music back on, then refolded his arms and bowed his head. Worship through music? I had to smile through the remainder of the prayer.

He's angry right now because he can't get a DVD to play in his CD player. Oh the things we have to learn to differentiate. What works when and where.

That saying bah-humbug to Mother's Day is just fine, because then you can go on and really enjoy it more in the end, for whatever it ends up being. Instead of what it's "supposed" to be.


  1. I don't know what it's "supposed" to be either. When we were little though, I remember my brother complaining to my mom on mother's day that there never was a kid's day and she said, "Everyday is kid's day!" And, that sounds right to me about now. :)

    Happy Mother's Day! I hope you get a candy bar or a flower at church!

  2. Do they really give candy bars at church? That's a new creative twist. I assume (hope) it's chocolate. I remember quite a few years back some practical person in charge decided to give tomato plants for Mother's day. Wow! That's a disconnect for you. It's like getting broom for your birthday.

  3. This is food for thought. I think you articulated some of what I may be feeling, too. If it makes you happy, come participate in the celebration I have going at my place... just a simple thing, really.