Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's day is overrated

This weekend I came to terms with my feelings about mother’s day.  Granted, I think it is a wonderful thing: to acknowledge the love and care (not to mention the sweat and tears) that mothers everywhere give to their children.  We all have mothers, and many of us become mothers.  My mother would admonish me as a child for innumerable offenses big and small saying, “when you are a mother, some day you’ll understand.”

And yes, now as the mother of two children, in some ways, I do.  The roller coaster of labor and childbirth—check. The sleepless nights of newbornhood—double check. Having my toddler throw up all over me countless times in the last few years...the most memorable while I was seven months pregnant (in a stuffy plane, landing into a tropical climate with no change of clothes for hours, hypersensitive to smell--you get the picture)—check check check. Waking up at 3am every night this past week to give ibuprofen and a “mama hold you” to a feverish toddler…and then doing the same this past weekend for a feverish one-year old—check! So I get it.  Mamas do a lot, and they should be appreciated.

But isn’t Mother’s day the equivalent of Valentine’s day, but for mothers?  The stock candy, flowers, and cards…I mean, we put so much value on the meaning of this one day. A few years ago, a mother I know got very miffed that her grown child didn’t spend time with her on Mother’s day itself—for family reasons, they had planned a mother’s day celebration in advance.  My friend even said at that time, “it doesn’t matter what day we celebrate it.”  But when the day came, all was forgotten of the child’s efforts to show her gratitude for being mom, and my friend’s feelings were and still hurt.

We put so much stock in that one day, and forget the 364 other days out of the year that we can show our love for our mothers—and for that matter, receive appreciation from our family for being mothers. The flowers, cards, and gifts are nice, believe you me. But even more wonderful are times like this: while walking to school, hand in hand, the dude spontaneously looks at me and says with the utmost seriousness, “Mama, I love you. I’m so proud of you.” Or every morning that I walk in her room, little miss gives me her gummy, toothy smile, babbles “ma-ma” and hugs me when I pick her up from her crib.

Even though sleep-deprived after our fever-filled night, this past Sunday my family managed to get our act together and have a picnic on the green lawn in front of the public library.  It was a balmy, warm late spring day. The dude was eating a cookie while little miss sat on my lap watching the birds.  I turned to my husband and mumbled something about how this mother’s day wasn’t ideal since we were all under the weather.  My husband turned to me, gave me a kiss, and and beamed, “you know we celebrate Mother’s day everyday.”


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