In case you missed the memo, yesterday was a big day.
Mothers Day is one of those holidays that bears the weight of impossible cultural expectations. I’ve had some doozies of Mothers Days in the past few years. There were three in a row, in the infertility years, when I tried to pretend the day didn’t even exist. But the mother of all Bad Mothers Days was the one I spent in the PICU with Julianna. She wasn’t in any danger by that time, so all my emotional energy went into feeling sorry for myself. After all, I’d asked for only one thing for Mothers Day: brunch at one of those wonderful buffets. Instead, I was sitting under fluorescent lights being bored out of my skull and trying to keep a baby entertained while his sister slept…or didn’t.Since then, I’ve kept my expectations for Mothers Day pretty low. The whole thing is a crock, anyway. You should appreciate your mother all the time; this is just one more way to separate people from their money. As a stay-at-home mom, the best Mothers Day gift I can imagine is for someone to take them off my hands for a whole day so I can just relax! And, um, that’s not quite the point. Ahem.
This year, by the time the weekend rolled around, I was in not in a great frame of mind. Witness my Facebook status:
These are the days that make me want to engage in some serious theatrical drama. In an attempt to get naps coordinated, I force Michael to stay awake for an extra half hour till I get lunch on and the others are half done. Then I put him down, get them finished with lunch, and upstairs they go. Julianna goes in and wakes Michael up.
1 1/2 hours later, I despair of getting him back down by nursing, so I put him in his room and pray he’ll go down before he wakes Julianna up. After ten minutes of him crying, NICHOLAS wakes up wailing in the other room. I comfort him, tell him it’s not time to get up yet, and go back downstairs.
Ten minutes after THAT, Michael wakes Julianna up. I carry her into my room to finish her nap. Michael settles down at last. Three minutes after THAT, the @#$%^&*( neighbor turns on some jack hammer-sounding piece of lawn equipment…which won’t work. So he starts it again. And again. And again. And every time, Michael screams AGAIN.
Three minutes after THAT, Dish Network pounds (I don’t mean “knocks,” I mean “pounds”) on the door. “I’M NOT INTERESTED,” I say, and slam the door in their faces.
And Michael is crying again.
Michael did not sleep for FOUR AND A HALF HOURS on Friday afternoon. I spent the whole evening composing a long, foul blog rant in my head.
But Christian has been on a multi-year campaign to redeem my faith in Mothers Day. Last year, he took us all to a brunch buffet–quite an investment with our then-three children. It was wonderful. This year, he came home with a crabapple tree for me (I adore crabapple trees, and he hates them), and we bought a new outdoor table and chairs, which he and my parents put together at great inconvenience and time expenditure so we could eat our dinner outside yesterday. (Babe, you rock!)
It’s human nature to hug the extremes, I suppose. We get into a negative funk and look for things to get P.O.’d about, and then someone hears us and goes to the opposite pole: “Just enjoy it! It goes so fast!” I defy you to enjoy a baby who’s mad and refusing all forms of comfort for four solid hours. Please. Be real.
The reality, and it’s an uncomfortable one, is this: “Motherhood is the only time you can experience Heaven and Hell at the same time.” You can’t deny either part; to do so devalues the whole. In contemplating this humble post, less than a blip on the radar of the blogosphere, much less the sum total of human history, I traveled from borderline murderous rampage to blissful transcendence to grace-filled tolerance and back to pulling my hair out. (Fussing baby + preschooler who is physically incapable of closing his mouth while awake + clumsy daughter knocking over the marble run for the tenth time in half an hour = Mommy Meltdown.)
I think I would be less jaded about holidays like Mothers Day more if those trying to separate us from our money were a little less rosy about the whole thing and acknowledge how darned tough it often is. We all need affirmation. That’s why the card Christian gave me last night was so perfect:
- A Poem For Hearts That Ache Emptily On Mother’s Day (via Rebecca Reynolds) (garyware.me)
- Great Expectations (byjlaurel.wordpress.com)
- Motherhood on Mother’s Day (jennyonthespot.com)