Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Mother of a Day

I am going to make a statement that is bound to strike my readers as politically incorrect. Even shocking. It is simply this: I hate Mother’s Day. I have hated it for years – even the years before my mother died, but especially afterward. I thought having my own kids would make me like it, but no … not really. I guess I basked in the glow of my first Mother’s Day, but since it was little over a month after giving birth, I pretty much attribute that to a chemical rush of happy hormones. 

It’s probably got a lot to do with expectations. Thinking that just because the calendar says it’s Mother’s Day, our children will not just flood us with cards, gifts and flowers, but will be stricken with some sudden mea culpa moment when they will prostrate themselves at our feet, beg our forgiveness for all the times they tore our hearts out, and promise to strive harder to reach the pinnacle of perfection we expected for them on the day they were born. 

On the flip side, there is the hope – quickly dashed – that our relationship with our own mother will magically be healed by the simple act of bestowing a Hallmark greeting upon her. All the years of tears and disappointments, all the fights and harsh words, instantly erased – abracadabra!  And in my case, where even that slim chance of reconciliation disappeared in the sudden chill of an October night in 1978, the regret over what will never be … assuaged only somewhat by the knowledge that it never really could have been anyway.

So today when everyone is posting pictures of flowers and verses of sweet poetry and trite syrupy sentiments on Facebook, I won’t be participating. All I’m offering is this rather cynical, negative blog post. (You can thank me after you get over the sugar hangover.) It’s not that I do not have any appreciation for the wonderful, difficult, usually unsung job mothers do. I am one, after all. It’s just that I don’t think one day is enough to encompass the joys and the sorrows, the highs and the lows, the intricacies and the ambivalence of how it feels to bear the name “MOM.” 

What’s the answer? Hallmark doesn’t know. 1-800-FLOWERS doesn’t know. And I certainly don’t know.