The Mothers Day Post You May Not Like

mother swan mothers dayWell, here we are, another holiday to celebrate. Mother’s Day is upon us and it falls on a Sunday… oh yes, it always falls on a Sunday. Maybe that is so mothers everywhere can have a day of rest.

Nope, that’s not it.

I have four children, but Mothers Day has never been much different from any other day for me. I used to wish I had a caring husband who would work with the children to make my day special. I wished that for a few years, and then realized wishes don’t come true. Ya think?

I got gifts, and sometimes I got things I actually liked, needed or wanted. Once they were unwrapped, I made dinner. The day went on like any other.

But gifts were never what I really wanted for Mother’s Day. Like many mothers, I simply wanted a day off – a day for me. A day without meals to plan and cook. A day without dealing with the needs of the children. Without housework, walking the dog and feeding the cats. I used to dream of time for me, where I could sit and read a book, or do some drawing. That was the gift I craved. I would have accepted that gift any day of the year.

As I write this, imagining what Mothers everywhere are doing on their special day, the diversity of how they will celebrate is huge.

I can’t help but think of my own mother as well. She died of Alzheimers in 2008 so there will be no celebrating with her. She loved the attention, and believed the day was hers, no matter that her daughters were mothers too.

One year, my husband and I were invited out on a boat with some friends for a Mothers Day celebration. I asked my own mother to babysit and she never let me forget how I ruined her day by asking that.

I’ve been raising children for 40 years and I’m tired. I never got the gift of a caring husband who catered to my needs for a special day. But he’s out of my life, and that is an everyday gift I enjoy. My children are finally all grown, and they will wish me a happy day. That is enough.

Today I will stay off of Facebook and avoid reading the “I’m so blessed” posts where women will go on to brag about their fabulous husband and kids. Pictures will be shared where whole families celebrate all the moms with dinner out together. Oh I know it’s coming. Holidays – any holiday – is the time to show the world what a fantastic life you lead. I wonder if kids and husbands feel pressured to compete with other FaceBook posters?

Imagination is a wonderful thing. It’s how I come up with creations like the swan above.  I have some of those attributes, but not all.  My own mother had even fewer.

Mothers are not perfection, but if we try to be what our children need most, we succeed in giving the world the gift of more good people in it.  Sacrifice is a long-term commitment to carry on creating something we started.  From squealing baby to grown person, the trip is long and exhausting, and for some mothers, it’s a very lonely one.  In the end, I can say I did my mothering to the best of my ability.

Today, I am at peace.

Alone at Christmas? You’re Not Alone

screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-8-35-58-amI’ve written before about how little family I have, and how holidays equal family. I mean, after all, isn’t that what the holidays are all about? Except for Easter. Which is all about the Easter Bunny. (Just kidding.)

This is what I have done to get ready for Christmas. Nearly nothing. I have not bought one gift. I bought two cards to send to my kids whom I won’t see. I bought a small turkey breast yesterday which my son may smoke on his grill, like he did on Thanksgiving.

For the first time in my life, the only tree I have is the same small one I bought years ago when we had lost our home and everything was packed away.  It was the first year we had no money, and I can’t even remember what I was able to buy for the kids. I liked that little tree and it came with me from house to house as I moved around New Hampshire.

After that first poor year, I was on my own and bought a larger fake tree because of my son. I still tried to make Christmas Christmassy for the sake of my kids, but I have never really been able to feel the same excitement I used to have. And eventually it simply became a dreaded chore. Continue reading “Alone at Christmas? You’re Not Alone”