There was a time when I rolled my eyes at Mother’s Day. Another guilt inducing dash around for flowers or some “perfect” thing to show appreciation. Father’s Day was no exception. My dad was the Scrooge of Father’s Day and to this day, whenever I call him on Father’s Day, he always says “Hmmmph. Father’s Day. I didn’t even know it was Father’s Day. Show’s you what I know. Just a dumb holiday invented by Hallmark to make us buy stuff we don’t need.”
I came by my disdain honestly.
When I got married and had kids, Mother’s Day was an event that forced me to experience severe cuteness overload as burned pancakes and tea made their way to my bedroom, Arron following behind sheepishly holding a droopy flower he picked out of the garden.
It wasn’t until after he died that Mother’s Day suddenly took on some sort of magical new importance that I didn’t quite understand. That first Mother’s Day after, I was reminded of the day I was hoping to forget by all the bouquets left anonymously on my porch. The kids presented me with handmade cards and aÂ soggy bowl of cereal. It was poignant, but something was missing and the missing thing took over the entire space in the room. I felt suffocated. I tried not to cry and when I did and the kids looked at me alarmed. I told them they were tears of happiness. And in some way I suppose they were, its just that I didn’t know it at the time.
As the years progressed, the kids and I settled into a sweet routine. Breakfast in bed for me (with copious dishes to clean up later). Pancakes morphed into fried eggs and bacon with a dish beautifully decorated with orange slices (the cooking channel years) and once they could read and write, heartfelt letters telling me how appreciated I was were added to the tray, decorated with artistic swirls on the envelopes saying “MeeMoo” their nickname for me. Oh did those letters make me cry! Arron’s presence diminished over the years and I realized the day didn’t actually involve him anymore. It was our day, the kids’ and mine.
They haven’t all been perfect. The early ones made me sad because Arron wasn’t there to appreciate me. I felt like a disgruntled child. Where was my droopy garden-picked flower? I felt the same way I might if he had forgotten Mother’s Day altogether, irrational as that is. I’m glad that faded away with time. Now he shows up for a moment perhaps, a fleeting memory of him that will make me smile.
These days I’m lucky to get tea in bed, but one tradition lingers â€“ the letters. They are amazing and sweet and funny as hell and always make me laugh tears.
In those moments, I remember to appreciate what I have rather than remember what I don’t.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms and dads being moms out there. You are all appreciated.