I’ve never been one for showering my mom with flowers on Mother’s Day, probably because she barely cares about Christmas, let alone Hallmark holidays. But ever since I son was born, my perspective has shifted. I feel entitled to a mother’s day. Probably more than once a year.
I imagine that all the moms reading this are sitting in a room with me and I ask you all, how many are feeling blessed, rested, happy, and fulfilled right now? Show of hands.
Then I ask you, who here is feeling exhausted, frustrated, who is trying to hold on to the few moments of this day that made it special just because if you don’t hold on to them, you will have a breakdown? How many forgot it’s Mother’s Day? How many have young kids who have no idea what it even is? And how many have non-Americanized and Hallmark-ized husbands who thought today was like any other Sunday and acted accordingly?
I’m guessing the show of hands would grow exponentially to the last four questions. Hashtag all you want, but unless you have caring teenagers in your house, we all know it’s not real. And it shouldn’t be.
We’re sold this nonsense of sleeping in, breakfasts in bed, family brunches, bouquets of flowers, mani pedis, massages, and what have you. And even if we don’t believe in any of this gibberish, the lack of it, or the failure of the perfect materialization of the image, affects us on this fake day. If my kid brought me breakfast in bed, I promise you, I’d end up having to do laundry two minutes later. Sleeping in? We all know that fairytale all too well.
But what if you’d woken up today without expectations? What if Mother’s Day was about actual mothers, as the name of the day suggests. As it was first envisioned by it’s founder, Anna Jarvis, who devoted her adult life to making it a national holiday in the United States. Her passion was fuelled by the loss of her mother at the age of 40, and she fought its almost immediate commercialization in the very turn of the 20th Century. She died alone, blind and childless. It was all for her deceased mom. No flowers, no eggs benedict, no hugs and pats on the back, maybe just a couple of mimosas.
I put my kid to bed, TGIM tomorrow flashes constantly in my mind, take a photo of the card he made me at school, to use with this post, his little handprints, in red paint, cover the two sides of a white heart. I pour a glass of wine, grab my laptop, and walk out onto the balcony. The sun is setting, and the sky is a rainbow, unlike any I have seen before; dark grey, light grey, dirty blue, bright pink, orange, burgundy, then blue. My camera refuses to capture its beauty, as if telling me that life isn’t meant to be shot and posted somewhere for everyone to see. It’s fluid, it’s ugly, it’s breathtaking, it’s unpredictable, uncontrollable, it takes us by surprise when we least expect it; as is motherhood, as are we, as are our mothers, and the mothers before them. We are not perfect rainbows in a bright blue sky.
Happy Sunday to all you blasts of color. Above all, to mine.
Next year, I’m renting a minivan and taking all my sister moms to a 10-hour, kids and dads-free lunch.