I usually approach Mother’s Day with some trepidation, never fully being able to enjoy it. My Mother, you see, always said: “If it takes one day a year to show you appreciate your mother, there’s something wrong with the relationship!” This was also usually followed by a tiny tirade about the greeting card and flower industries cooking the whole thing up.
With those words ingrained in me, I found it hard to relax into Mother’s Day and allow my children and husband to shower me with praise, gifts and breakfasts in bed over the years. I did my best, though, to enjoy all of those Mother’s Days when my children were sweet and little, with their cute cards, sloppy kisses and fistfuls of flowers picked from the garden.
However, now that the kids suffer from what I like to call “The Teen Nasties”, Mother’s Day is starting to go awry (as is Father’s Day because all’s fair in love and war, aka raising teens). This year, my oldest daughter reminded me that last year, as I sat at the head of the table with a beautiful brunch in front of me, I burst into tears as I read the kids’ cards. No, not out of being so touched. No, my tears were the start of a lecture about how they could manage to be so nice to me on Mother’s Day when they had been so awful to me for days and weeks prior. (Hmmm, maybe my Mother IS right!) So that Mother’s Day was a bust.
This year, I tried to hold it together because the kids had been less than wonderful in the days and weeks prior. I braced myself. Grace made a lovely breakfast of fruit salad and custom-made omelet’s. She and Grant presented me with beautiful, hand-made cards. So far, so good. James was in a bad mood and spent the bulk of the afternoon in his room. No card from him nor from Ann (which is very unlike her). When I asked her, in a light-hearted, non-accusatory way where her card was for her dear old Mom, she replied, not completely sarcastically, “I’m painting my nails for you for Mother’s Day plus, I’m the best kid in the family anyway.” Apparently being able to look at her polished nails plus her self-evaluation was to be my gift from her.
The next day, I was at a meeting of women and the subject of everyone’s Mother’s Day came up. Turns out I was not alone in the lack of participation and enthusiasm from our children. There were many tales of woe. There was the daughter who was just too upset about the drama at her prom the night before to do anything towards Mother’s Day. (Oh boo hoo.) That got a few eye-rolls of recognition from the group.
My favorite though, was from a woman whose three children grumbled a “Yeah, Happy Mother’s Day” and that was about it. That night, she was at the grocery store and saw a T-shirt that said “World’s Greatest Mom” on it, half-price. She bought it and wore it home. When her teenage daughter saw it, she asked “why would you buy THAT?” to which she replied, “Because of the irony, dear, because of the irony.” Love it!
Not all Mother’s Days go awry because of lack of acknowledgment from our children or spouses. Sometimes what should have been a wonderful day just falls apart, through no fault of the children or anyone else. Take the tale Colorado Parent reader, Robyne in Grand Junction, who told me about the time they went on a Mother’s Day drive in the mountains with her two young children who tended to get carsick. They always prepared for this possibility by bringing the “essentials” – a throw-up bowl and extra clothes.
They were having a wonderful time and stopped for homemade chili and bread. Everything was going well. On the way down the mountain, they heard a noise and turned in time to see their daughter projectile vomiting all over herself and the back of the seat in front of her. (Remember, chili and cornbread for lunch!) They pulled over and realized they’d forgotten the essentials bag. They used anything they could get their hands on to clean her up, having to leave her in only her diaper.
A mile or so down the road again, there was that sound again, this time coming from her son. Repeat performance only this time, anything they could possibly use to clean him up had already been used on his sister. He ended up in just diapers too, on a rather cool spring day.
“As we got into town we started noticing people looking our way at stoplights,” recalls Robyne. “I was mortified because I knew what they were thinking: how could those bad parents let their kids go without clothes in this weather! I was never so glad to get home and end this “mothers day” nightmare!”
Remember ladies, there’s always next year (and all the days in between) for our kids to show us, even with only a hug on the run, that we are appreciated. In the meantime, we’d love to hear about your Mother’s Day.
How did your Mother’s Day go? Mom-to-Moms, we’d love to hear your tales both woeful and wonderful.