"I hate the way the holiday makes all non-mothers, and the daughters of dead mothers, and the mothers of dead or severely damaged children, feel the deepest kind of grief and failure. The non-mothers must sit in their churches, temples, mosques, recovery rooms and pretend to feel good about the day while they are excluded from a holiday that benefits no one but Hallmark and See’s. There is no refuge — not at the horse races, movies, malls, museums. Even the turn-off-your-cellphone announcer is going to open by saying, “Happy Mother’s Day!” You could always hide in a nice seedy bar, I suppose. Or an ER."
I have to say other than the relentless advertisements on the subject I keep forgetting Sunday is Mother's Day. Because I have no plans, no husband to celebrate me (and I guess that's a broad assumption right there, that all husbands are celebrating their wives on Sunday), and B is far too young and will be for years to acknowledge the day. On the other end I am estranged from my own mother, so no celebration there. All around an awkward day for me despite now actually being a mother. Proof that having a baby does not solve all your problems!
I don't dare hit up any friends to hang out because I'm sure they're all spending time with their normal, nurturing mothers, or their husbands and kids. So along with the daughters of dead mothers or mothers of dead or damaged daughters who feel left out on this day, can I please add Single Mothers By Choice to a Small Child Who Isn't in Preschool Yet Where He Can Make Her a Cute Card or Present Who Also Happens to Have a Very Much Alive But Completely Crazy Narcissistic Mother? Is there a section in the greeting card aisle for us?
I'm not really complaining lest you think this is one of my self-pitying posts (right now you're probably thinking "what do you mean ONE of those posts...?"). But I have to admit it would be nice to have plans for brunch or get some flowers. I know it sounds petty. I'm just saying it would be nice.
I am fully aware of how much a thankless gig parenting is. I don't expect thanks or acknowledgement, I really don't. Not a day goes by that I don't think "my mother did this for me," as I'm wiping B's butt or cooking for him or comforting him when he's upset. Reconciling that (I'm assuming) normal mother of a young child with the impossibly self-centered woman who took over as my mother later on has been a real brain-twister for me. How, when did it happen? Or was she like so many women of her generation just trapped in a role that they would later come to resent, once society told them it was ok to resent it?
I don't know much about how my mother was with me when I was a baby because of course I don't remember it, but I do know she fed me, wiped my butt, and got up with me when I cried in the night. She did do all those things, and for that I am grateful. I suppose I could be the bigger person and tell her that now, while she's still alive. That yes, being a mother helps me understand and empathize with her a lot more.
But there are several things I understand a lot less. Like how she could send me away to live with relatives for a whole year when I was nine, for no good reason. How she could basically abdicate all parental obligations when I was fourteen and burden my sister with me instead. How she could become such a religious zealot that she would refuse to see me for fear that my very physical presence would make her sick or even kill her, just because I don't believe. These things I'll never understand. And these are the reasons she'll be getting no card or flowers from me.
Fortunately I do have tentative plans to meet with a new SMC who wants to talk. I keep expecting her to remember it's Mother's Day and cancel, so I'm not counting on it. But if we do get together I think it will be very healing to listen to her talk about her issues and hopefully offer some encouragement. That sounds like an appropriate Mother's Day activity to me.