Face it: If your child is under the age of about 12, the fate of Mother’s Day frequently lies in the wobblingly incompetent hands of mom’s partner in successful coitus crime: dad.
At least until the teen years or so, it is up to dad to orchestrate either the most spa-ctacular, lavish, elegant, white-glove and pearled yet somehow also homespun, unique, organic, earthy, Pinterest and Facebook-picture posting worthy memory blazed Mother’s Day or, (as is more often the case for dads) he plans some sub-par sit-down meal at the Sizzler.
Outside of the lies slathered on social media’s bite-sized bagels of bull, are mom’s really “amazed” by their “amazing” children and their “amazing” Mother’s Days? Maybe they’re amazed.
Maybe I’m jaded.
Well, there’s no maybe needed in that statement. I often think my parents should’ve named me Jade Edward—use your imagination as to my nickname.
In a world of nature versus nurture debates, I suggest that my disdain for All Days Mother was a blend of both influences.
My mother once shared a soul-shattering experience she had one Mother’s Day….
My mom, 11 years old, was wandering the aisles of the local 5 and 10 store in search of the perfect Mother’s Day gift.
She’d saved up her fives and dimes to buy her mom something special that year.
In fact, that was the first year she would purchase her mom a gift on her own–using her own money. She decided on a small bird figurine.
She walked home, ran to her room and carefully wrapped the fragile finch in layers of newspapers she’d been stowing away for this very reason.
On Mother’s Day morn, she woke early, beat the family to the stove to make breakfast and anxiously waited for her mother’s arrival.
When the ham and eggs and pancakes had been eaten, she presented her mother with her carefully wrapped gift.
Her mother opened it, turned the bird in her hands a few times, then curtly asked, “Why did you buy this for me?”
My mom(not yet seeing where this was headed) responded, “I know you like birds so I bought it with money I’ve been saving up to which my grandmother responded, “Well I don’t like it. You’ve wasted your money. Now go back to the store and return it so you can get your money back.”
So my mom spent that Mother’s Day walking to and from the local 5 and 10 returning a stupid, pointless gift that my grandmother didn’t like.
Maybe, somewhere in my mom’s DNA, a code of “never good enough” or “disappointment regardless of intent” got switched on and passed down to me.
I don’t know.
What I do know, is that when I was growing up and presenting my mom with my own versions of finch figurines or tissue paper-bouquets or crayoned cards, I was never met with the stinging slap my grandmother backhanded my mom with back in 1960.
My mother was always appreciative, hugging and loving.
At least that’s how our Mothers’ Days always started.
Somehow, though, as the minutes passed to hours on those saintly Sundays, there would be a growing air of expectation and, resulting disappointment.
And the finger of disenchanted blame was usually pointed not at us offspring, but at my mom’s spouse–my dad.
And my dad knew this. And it made him tippy-toe around the rug of eggshells that so often carpeted our floor.
Once the temporary joy of hugs, glittered and glue-sticked trays of breakfasts in bed wanes, there’s still an entire day of honor to maintain. And this is where dad steps in.
It’s up to dad to maintain the elusive day of utter adornment, adoration and deification. And heaven help him if he doesn’t.
The fate of Mother’s Day frequently lies in the wobblingly incompetent hands of mom’s partner in successful coitus crime: dad…..usually, at least.
But Jamey was lucky. I never really gave a crap about my own Mother’s Day.
Maybe that’s because I don’t really see myself as being that great of a mom…..well, not in the traditional “make meals, kiss boo-boos, wear bathing caps when swimming” sense.
And oddly, Jamey never really gave a crap about my Mother’s Day either.
At least, not in the hardcore sense I thought someone so traditional as he was would give a crap. I mean, he’d buy a card and sign it “Caeley” until she was old enough to scribble something incomprehensible on her own.
But once she was able to to the DIY stuff, I stopped getting store-bought cards from him.
His response was always the same, “You’re not my mother.”
And he was right.
He never did the spa packages or brunches or luxury treatments because he knew I thought they were BS.
Maybe it was because he’d lost his own mother so close to Mother’s Day that it left a bad taste in his mouth.
I think what it really was was the old adage, “Every day should be Mother’s Day.”
Jamey was kind and thoughtful to me 364 1/4 of the days out of the year(I mean, come on…it couldn’t have been 365–although he and the Son of God shared the same initials, Jamey wasn’t Jesus Christ!)
And he was kind and thoughtful not because I pushed the head of a human who shared one-half of his DNA out of me. He was just a kind and thoughtful person. He didn’t need a special day to show me that.
So I don’t have any special jaw-dropping, “write my name in the sky” Mother’s Day moments to reminisce about today that involve Jamey.
I never credited him nor blamed him for the outcome of my Mother’s Days.
I just have simple moments that make me miss him.
And I may never have given my own mom a futile finch figurine, but I know she enjoys the best gift Jamey and I ever received: our daughter, Caeley.
Without my mom, I wouldn’t be here.
Without Caeley, I wouldn’t be a mother.
And I wouldn’t have so much damned grey hair.
So regardless of whether you blame your boyfriends or husbands or girlfriends or kids for not “reading your minds” and knowing that even when you said “Oh–I really don’t want you to get me anything for Mother’s Day”, you actually meant you wanted a WHOLE LOT for Mother’s Day.
Or if your mothers have passed away and this is a stabbingly painful day of loss and heartache for you
Or your moms just really sucked and rejected your finch figurines but you still loved your moms anyway
Or I truly am just a jaded bitch and it is possible for you to have an amazing Mother’s Day and you are really enjoying your amazing gifts, spouse and children.
Regardless of all those possible scenarios, just know that if we all stopped becoming moms, the human race would cease to exist.
So you getting knocked up led to the survival of our species. And that’s something to be proud of.
Happy Mother’s Day (or, as I pointed out to Caeley today since I can say things like this now that her rational, level-headed father is no longer alive,
Happy “I’m glad you didn’t have an abortion” Day.