Mother’s Day: Was It the Worst or The Best?
Who’s to Say What Is Good and What Is Bad?
At the age of 38, I’ve been through a few Mother’s Days. Mother’s Days to celebrate others and Mother’s Days to be celebrated.
Some have been memorable, not always in a good way. Some have passed like ‘Did it really happen though?’ (Where were you Mother’s Day 2019, 2020, 2021?) Some are the ones I think about over and over as they bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart.
It’s the same day of celebration but it looks so different than when it did before I was a mom. Before I was a mom, I can only remember one Mother’s Day, 2005. That was when my grandma passed away. It stuck with me for a long time and gave me no joy to remember. Only the deep sense of loss I felt that day and so many of the days, months and years after.
My mother and I were never close. As an adult I would always tell her Happy Mother’s Day and send anything I knew she needed. I can’t say I recall going out of my way to see her even in the years I still lived in the same city. She sent me a ‘Happy Birthday’ text every year on my birthday. That was how we lived; exhanging messages on holidays and special occassions and minimal between. Most of what I learned about how she was doing was was from my sister or my dad. She didn’t seem to be concerned so I learned to notcare either. And then 9/11/19, she died.
I remember when my son was 3 or 4 and he told me ‘Happy Mother’s Day Mommy!’ And then said he wanted to get me something but no one would take him shopping for me. It broke my little mommy heart. Here he was with his big mommy loving heart and no help or support. It was then that I decided I would make sure he always had the opportunity to do something for ones he cared about, especially on special days.
Elementary school was nice because each year they always made something in class. One year at home he worked all morning coloring me a picture on his dry erase board and making me lego figures. The look of joy and accomplishment on his face filled my heart over. I love every time I come across that picture.
He was 7 when The Avengers: Age of Ultron appeared in theaters. I watched all the superhero movies with him and enjoyed them. I knew he wanted to see it. So I gave my sister and a close family friend (that my son has always called Uncle) $20 to have my son earn doing chores if he wanted to take me out for Mother’s Day. (Honestly, I don’t think they made him work too hard for it.) And so he invited me to go to the movies with him for Mother’s Day. He told me he was going to pay for it and for snacks “you can have whatever you want.” Promptly follwed by asking if he was allowed to have a slushie! (So cute!) Every time I think about that mommy/son date my heart explodes from love and joy.
Another year, he made me a beautifully plated breakfast. Another he got me a necklace. It’s still hanging from my rearview mirror. (Bless his heart, it was a man’s necklace and didn’t hang or look right on my but I didn’t have the heart to tell him. I hung it from the mirror so I can see it every day.) Always something to make me feel loved, appreciated and celebrated.)
That’s why this year hurt so much. It wasn’t the not going to see the Multivserse of Madness yet. (We have to see Morbius and something else first he insists or it won’t make sense. “You know this Mom, you have to follow the order of release or you’ll miss stuff!”). It’s not that there were no legos.
He had the opportunity and he declined. A complete lack of desire or sense of caring. Yeah, I cried a few times. Yeah, I told him I was hurt-and then made him at least send messages to his aunties and grandmas. And at 14, he doesn’t wanna talk. “You seem really bothered by this” he said to me. I am.
What happened to his giving heart? What happened to our relationship? It took until midafternoon when he went to his dad’s before I could drag myself out of this obvious downward spiral that was in no way helping me. What have I done differently to make him respond this way?
That was the magic question. Looking at the situation from another perspective. Just as Mother’s Day looks different before and after having a child so did this. I felt a lot better after taking the rest of the drive to think about how I can do better as a mom. To make sure I haven’t fallen off supporting his heart of giving for others. If he takes this uncaring approach for Father’s Day, we will have a conversation about not letting temporary feelings (perhaps angry from not being allowed to do something he wanted) get in the way of celebrating the special day of other’s.
I wish I’d done better all those years ago. No matter how many wonderful mother figures we have in our life, we only get one mom. And when she’s gone we’ve missed our chance to do better. Until then, we have time.