Pondering Mother’s Day
[media-credit id=68 align="alignleft" width="150"][/media-credit]My first few Mother’s Days as a mother were what most people think Mother’s Day should be. Simple Hallmark moments broken up by handmade cards in crayon from tiny fingers, slobbery kisses from large hearted toddlers, the requisite card. Along the way there were also scattered meals in public places, a trip or two to spend the day with other mothers in my family, and breakfasts in bed.
One Mother’s Day my perception of the day was tarnished. My grandmother died a few days before Mother’s Day. It was a huge loss which produced in me a vast black hole. On that Mother’s Day I was at the funeral home choosing a casket and making other arrangements. For years after that I couldn’t bring myself to celebrate Mother’s Day. I felt my grandmother’s absence too strongly, and insisted that nothing special be done for me on that day knowing my heart wouldn’t be in it.
My favorite Mother’s Day was one year (during my “No Mother’s Day festivities, please” phase) when my children surrounded my bed, woke me up and shouted, “Happy Mother’s Day!” Being the quick wit that I am, I laughed and asked, “Where’s my breakfast in bed?” The kids and I talked and kissed and hugged and a few moments later my three year old poked her head through the crowd of her siblings and handed me a carefully held bowl. “Here, Mommy.”
I took the bowl from her little hands and asked “What’s this?” I looked at the small handful of Froot Loops and a spoon. She said, “I made you breakfast, but the milk was too heavy.” I think I cried. It was the sweetest “gift” I’d ever gotten. Mother’s Days stopped being a painful reminder of the past and eased into a celebration of my present.
This year because of divorce and poverty, my children live with their father 1300 miles away, and I live in the South with my boyfriend and our daughter. I was taken out to dinner which doesn’t happen often because we both like to cook, and because I have agoraphobic tendencies. We’re also wary of trying to eat in public because our daughter is very moody. Sometimes she’ll be fine and we have no problems. Other times she’ll be fine until we blink incorrectly (or something) during dinner and she freaks out and we have to leave. Still other times she’s “having a day” and we don’t even try to leave the house because we already know there’s no point. We live with that. She’s entitled to have bad days too and the most important thing for us is spending time together. We can do that at home.
But yesterday I felt like leaving the comforts of home, the toddler was in a decent mood, and the job left the boyfriend alone long enough that we ventured out into the deep dark wilds of Georgia. The restaurant was crowded, but it was okay. I didn’t sweat, pass out or cry. (WIN!) It was buffet-style though, and the toddler and I were overwhelmed trying to forage for food against the tide of the masses, so the boyfriend made food runs.
Every time he left the table the toddler would squint into the milling throng of people and yell “DADDY! DADDY! WHAR YOU???” (No one heard her but me and the people sitting near us). And once, before he made it back to the table she spilled her pop on her dress and flicked the straw and got pop in her eye. When he came back and sat down he asked “Uh oh. D id you have an accident?” She was rubbing her eye and yelling ‘CRAP IN MY EYE! CRAP! IN! MY! EYE! CRAP IN MY EYE!”
So, at the moment I guess Mother’s Day is more like an Olympic event: get dressed, work calls, get undressed, play, knit, boyfriend calls from work saying get dressed I’m coming. Get re-dressed. Boyfriend calls from work saying “nevermind I have another call.” Get undressed, play, knit, watch tv. Boyfriend calls “I’m almost home. Are you ready?” “Uhhh…no.” “Get ready. I’m coming.” Get dressed. Dress toddler. Do toddler’s hair. Do toddler’s lips (she has to have “make up” like Mommy, I’ve acquiesced to gloss). Turn off tv, turn off computer, foof hair one last time. Daddy runs in, changes clothes and yells’ Let’s go before they call again!”
Buckle in truck, drive and hope the phone doesn’t ring. Restaurant. Get in line and hope the phone doesn’t ring. Pay, sit and forage for food hoping the phone doesn’t ring. Feed toddler. Watch toddler use dress as handy dandy napkin. Watch boyfriend spill food on his shirt. Shake head in dismay. Giggle at toddler daintily dabbing mouth with napkin. Two minutes later sigh as toddler uses dress to wipe mashed potatoes off her fingers. Listen to boyfriend apologize needlessly for bring me here, and asking repeatedly if I’m ok. Eat. Laugh. Love. Get in truck where boyfriend discovers his phone set itself to “driving mode” meaning it wouldn’t ring, and would send all calls to voice mail. Fortunately, no messages. Home! Jammies on! Relax! Work calls. Boyfriend leaves. Toddler and I chill out and do our own things til bedtime. Bed! SOFT! FLUFFY! Oh how I’ve missed you! Toddler tucks self in saying “Snuggle wiff you, Mommy.”
Best. Mother’s Day. Ever. <3
Tags: dinner, Elisa Ashley, mother's day, toddlers