Mother’s Day. What a holiday for sadness. The best emotion I can rally is relief, and that is colored by the end of life as I knew it.
My mother demanded recognition for holidays. She wanted cards and gifts and gratefulness. I constantly fell short and was punished. Instead of making me a better gift buyer, card sender, and dutiful daughter, the punishment grew calluses. I could conveniently forget to buy, to send, to visit. I never asked why it was so important and that still mystifies me.
For myself, it has never been important to have it all, whatever all was, on some designated day. We could open Christmas presents after we made coffee and got the video camera ready, we could celebrate private holidays on convenient days, and if someone forgot, forgets, it matters very little. And so, David and I were well paired. He was also hounded by a father who demanded recognition on the exact day. He and his father exchanged checks on birthdays for years. I admit that the checks were useful in the lean years, but he never needed David’s check, and in the lean years it did seem like the check that came to him should be squirreled away to send back a few months later. I once suggested that David do just that -- send the very check that his father sent to him, back again. I imagined they they could avoid wasting a few checks a year by designating check the official birthday-anniversary-father’s day-new year gift. The suggestion was not appreciated. It would have created too many waves, and David was willing to be compliant to avoid complications.
And so, we came together swearing to be low key and without those sorts of demands. And for the most part, it worked out fine. Granted, David was not the best of gift buyers, and when I was sad or stressed, there might be no gift at all. I hardly shop when happy. Negative feelings do not send me to the stores. But all of that was fine. A kiss, a wish, maybe a dinner the next weekend, were always enough.
But, and another but, celebrating mother’s day and father’s day from the time since Cheshire was born was sweet, possibility made sweeter by our reluctance to conform to those hallmark holidays. It was the non-celebrated parent who bought the card or the gift, who urged the child to sign or write or make the craft. My favorite mother’s day gift was being given the day free to plant in the garden with time for a bath afterwards and a Sunday supper with a movie. David gave me the day, took care of the kid, cooked and found the movie. It was all done for me. Such a gift, such gift. It was the thought, the honoring of a wish. Effortless.
I was intent on ignoring mother’s day this year, but unless I went to the mountain top, I can’t see how I could do it. And Cheshire is coming out today to take care of us for the week. She would tease me for ignoring the holiday, and so, I will cook something nice for tonight’s dinner. Yesterday, doing a very big food shopping, Julia and I heard an announcement in Copps that there was a cake decorating craft for kids to do for their moms. Julia wanted to do it and I brought her to the table. The nice lady guiding the kids, encouraged me to go away while she worked with Julia. I resisted for a moment, but the woman was kind and Julia wanted to make a surprise. I went to pick up cereal and tea. Julia was pleased with her work and is excited about eating the cake at dinner tonight. Sharing it was Cheshire as well. Still, I miss very much today the mother’s days of planting or of a few words on a home made card urged on by David. I understand how single moms could struggle with some of these same issues and generally, I can find solutions like, I am sure, they do, but there was a time when for me mother’s day included a father. I have not gotten past or through this one yet. At least, not today.