Sunday, May 11, 2014


How many Mother's Days do I actually remember? I don't know. I surely don't remember ones from my childhood. Nothing, nada, zip, from that Lizzie-centric time. But my first Mother's Day as a Mom? Of course. I'm still Lizzie-centric, I guess. 

There was that first one, with baby J dressed in his baseball outfit, complete with cap. We were visiting Michigan, and dined at a Chinese restaurant--maybe with my Mom and C's mom? Two photos commemorate the occasion. Here is me holding baby J, looking very, very happy. There is C holding J who is sucking on the bottom of a glass of water, demonstrating the phrase "unclear on the concept." Love. 

I've had 25 more days as a mother and daughter, filled with such a variety of experiences and emotions that, like life itself, it makes me dizzy to contemplate.  

There were quintessential Mother's Day experiences of handmade cards and presents, with sticky hands and crying and joy and tantrums (adults? kids? take your choice!) all wrapped up in the good and hard life of a young family. 

There were Mother's Days when I fumed at the world, angry on behalf of all who had bad mothers or couldn't be mothers. Outraged on their behalf that we spent a day genuflected toward the ridiculously false idol or altar of motherhood.

A few times, a Happy Mother's Day meant a day not being a mother, a day (ok, an hour or two) of peace and quiet to recover from being a mother. Oh, those were very good days. 

There were Happy Mother's Days that weren't so happy, when I was filled with bitterness and disappointment. Anger at myself for who I wasn't as a Mom. Anger at others for what could or should have been. Some of that seems petty, now. Some of that seems just plain real life, now. 

The older I am, the less Mother's Day means to me as a Mom. My children are old enough to begin taking their own measure of me as a Mom, for better and worse. And they communicate that measure regularly, which is far more important to me than enriching Hallmark and 1800FLOWERS. 

The older I am, the more I think about my own Mom, the challenges she faced and how much she loves all of us. I, too, rejected enriching Hallmark, so I am spending the day text-bombing my Mom with Mother's Day greetings. Funny and annoying, loving and snarky messages that are far more representative of mothering and life than a lovely, pastel card. 

But I will take a lovely pastel card. Or a handmade one. Or none at all. As I am grateful to have a mother, and to be a mother, no matter the cost or reward.