I wake up on Sunday morning to the pitter patter of little feet and giggles coming from the kitchen. There’s the sound of more giggles and dishes rattling as the tray of burnt toast and watery tea is brought up to my bedroom. The door opens to the cry of “Happy Mother’s Day, Mama!”
SKEETCH! (sound of needle being ripped off the record playing nauseatingly happy music)
Reality: 10am and I hear the whispers of my daughter and her friend in the bedroom. Another is still sleeping in the basement. My son is still out cold in his bed and the dog hasn’t been let out yet. I have half an hour to change and shower before I have to allow my daughter to drive us to the U District Starbucks for a tutoring session. We order bagels and tea and she plunks down at a table for two with her tutor while I sit beside a sleeping Asian man and another woman studiously peering into her laptop at the big communal table nearby. I eat my bagel, drink my tea and read my book for an hour. Back home, the dishes are still in the dishwasher, the dog still needs a walk, there are wet towels on the floor. I call my mother and mother-in-law. Kids hide in rooms. I eat a piece of leftover steak from the fridge before dashing out again to have my daughter drive me to her riding lesson. I sit in alone in another coffee shop for two hours waiting for the lesson to be over. I almost finish book. Back home I get a delicious letter from my daughter and a dress from Forever 21 and shoes that don’t fit me, but fit her perfectly. I am touched. Happy. I have made peace with the day by saying I love to read (alone in a coffee shop). I have told my son that I wanted (yet another) book for Mother’s Day, but he has had no way to get to a bookstore, so we make a pilgrimage to Elliot Bay Bookstore (what better place to be on Mother’s Day, I ask you?) and I choose a book in his price range (Patty Smith’s memoir). We head out for dinner where my kids play on their cell phones while we wait for dinner. I consider pulling out a book. Back home, the dog still hasn’t had a walk, the dishes are still in the dishwasher needing to be put away, now there are dirty dishes in the sink and the wet towels are still on the floor. I have a temper tantrum. I clean out dishwasher, scream at my son that it’s now the 4th time I’ve asked him to pick up his towels and daughter stands at the top of the stairs asking “What is your problem?” Out of what I can only describe as pure martyrdom does she take the dog for a walk. We all retreat to our rooms after my outburst. Me to feel guilty and ungrateful for all that I have. Son eventually tiptoes in a whispers that he’s sorry. Daughter comes in like nothing has happened so I can kiss the top of her head (the only place I am allowed to kiss). At 2am, son is back, panic attack in full swing, doubtless because of my outburst. I spend half an hour trying to calm him down and get him to go back to sleep.
This morning I got an email from a friend with the subject line: Single Mom Support Group.” She writes:
I’m so tired of being a single mom! Nag! Nag! Nag! How was your Mother’s Day?Â I think single moms get a raw deal on MD…usually orchestrating the whole “celebration” themselves.
She signed it “Bitter and Irritated”
Later she wrote “Facebook is insufferable these days with all the peppy mother’s day stuff” and I had to laugh, because yesterday my post was one of those. I do try to keep the positive sentiments, because I figure if I maintain my optimism then that is what will manifest. I am so full of shit sometimes.
So here’s to all you mom’s out there who had a shitty Mother’s Day, but made the best of it. You’re not alone.