What do you when Mother’s Day sucks?
I don’t have high expectations for gifts or favors on special occasions. My husband isn’t much of a planner or a big-gesture kind of guy, and try as I might to set the example for my kids, when it comes around to my birthday or Mother’s Day, it doesn’t seem to have taken. One year my husband actually forgot my birthday, something that can only happen once.
The kids are 13 and 11, old enough to know better now. Old enough to have ideas and plan and execute. So this morning when I woke up, even though I figured the bar was low, I expected them to do something. They sleep in on weekends, but Stewart got up early and made me breakfast and brought it to me in bed. That was sweet, but I was excited to see what the kids had done for me. Boy did I set myself up for disappointment.
They did nothing.
The younger one came and gave me a hug. “Do you have something for me?” I asked.
“We’re supposed to have a card for you,” he said. “Kyle was supposed to make it.”
I asked Kyle about the card. “I forgot,” he mumbled from his bed.
So, they were going to do the very least they could possibly do, but they couldn’t bring themselves to do even that.
At first I wasn’t upset about it. As penance, the could clean the house, I joked. But then they started complaining about doing that. My back has been out since Wednesday night, and I’ve been laid up and unable to take care of the million daily tasks that they take for granted. I started feeling like they take me for granted.
So I said so, and the more I talked the more upset I became. Because of my back, I couldn’t even take the opportunity to escape and go for a rejuvenating hike, returning with a fresh attitude and instigating a do-over. I went back up to my bedroom to rest and lower my expectations. Even further.
I tried to count my blessings and focus on those. My mother is alive and well. My kids are healthy, if ungrateful. Who was I to complain? Mother’s Day is a manufactured holiday anyway, right?
But then social media. Look at how my peers’ children cooked for them, or made them dinner or cards or did favors and took them out. Got them flowers. I shouldn’t have looked. What would I post? Photos of my kids laying around in the clothes they wore yesterday, in our messy living room, absent of cards and gifts for Mom? Won’t that be impressive?
Of course Stewart and the kids cleaned the house, made me a card, and picked flowers from the garden after I expressed my disappointment. But their guilt gifts only made me feel a little bit better. They could have saved themselves all that work with just the tiniest consideration for Mom. I would have been happy in the first place with a simple gesture that I didn’t have to demand.
In the end, I made reservations at a restaurant and we went out for an early dinner. My Aunt Kathy was in town so she came with us, and we had a nice time. I am able to release the bitterness of having to do everything around here, even make my own Mother’s Day dinner arrangements. But only because I have this blog to release it to. I decided to spill it here because I can’t be the only one. If you had a Mother’s Day like this, I feel you, sister.
Let that be a lesson to you, children of mothers. It doesn’t take much to make her happy, but it’s just as easy to piss her off.
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