Inquiring minds want to know. :)
I give you the story of a Mother's Day journey, one that started out fairly innocuous, but somewhere along the line went terribly awry. Let us begin some 30 plus years ago, in a land not so far away...
When I was a little girl, Mother's Day was, you know, fine. I don't really remember it too much. I would get my mom something nice and that would be the end of it. That's the innocuous part.
Fast forward to my first Mother's Day as a mother. Henry was about 6 months old. At this point, I hadn't slept through the night uninterrupted since the moment he was born. Oh, and tack on an additional 9 months since we all know you sleep like crap when you're pregnant. So it's been well over a year with foul garbage sleep. Henry was NOT a great sleeper. And he was an early teether, so at 6 months we're talking multiple, multiple wake ups that, as a first time parent, I was completely unprepared for. In hind sight, I really think I had some postpartum depression in the year after I had Henry.
On that particular Mother's Day we had had an especially challenging night. Bone weary, I went to Mass and then hustled around to get ready to meet my parents for brunch. Somehow, in our delirium, Mike and I manage to get Henry buckled into his car seat and we're underway to the restaurant. Upon arrival, I make an upsetting realization: I was so out of it that I left my mom's gift at home.
What does any mature, self-respecting woman do at this juncture? She bursts into tears, of course. As in uncontrollable sobs, right in the middle of the restaurant.
Everybody was very worried about me. "What's wrong?!" they all want to know.
I've always remembered my answer. "I'm just so tired."
And I meant that in every possible sense. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, I had nothing left to give.
The exhaustion had nothing to do with Mother's Day, but it seems that somehow it left bad karma for every future Mother's Day to come. Regularly, each Mother's Day, we're dealing with:
(1) extraction of a tantruming child from Mass;
(2) extraction of a tantruming child from a restaurant;
(3) travel to multiple locations to see both mothers and any grandmothers;
(4) Mike and I picking fights with each other because we're both so tired and aggravated.
To illustrate, we have Mother's Day 2013:
We all go to Mass as a family, something that doesn't happen as much as I'd like and that I treasure. The Gospel hasn't even been read before Anne causes trouble out in the aisle and has to be picked up. Her arched back response is an immediate clue that she needs to be extracted. Mike does the honors, and I don't see him for at least 20 minutes. They come back in right before communion and Anne does behave for the rest of Mass. A short, frantic time at home and then we have to leave for brunch with my family. This is right during Anne's nap time. She cries upon being buckled into her car seat and is surly at brunch. Toward the end, she flings herself on the floor and we exit the restaurant in disgrace. We (oops, Freudian) *she* sobs for half the ride home. Upon arrival at home she is immediately escorted to her crib where she screams again for a short time before passing out (and clearly, this is all due to her not getting a properly timed nap, which is *our* fault, but the Mother's Day plans always aggravate this problem). During the nap, we move furniture back into our main living spaces. Anne wakes up in such a foul mood that I have to *chase her around her crib* to pull her out, and I think it was around this time that I thought to myself,
"Good gracious, I hate Mother's Day."
Mike's parents come over just as I get Anne calmed down. We visit. They leave and we deal with a whiny Henry and an oversensitive Anne for the remainder of the night. We're all far too stuffed from our late brunch to make the nice dinner that we had planned. Neither child goes to bed soon enough to suit me. By the time they are finally both asleep, I'm too beat to even have a glass of wine.
Happy Mother's Day to me.
Which I hope doesn't come across as selfish. I mean, I don't really care if I have a nice Mother's Day because I think that Mother's Day is a made up Hallmark holiday that I wish we could all forget about. Except if we did that other people would think that we were horrible, horrible individuals with no souls.
All weekend long, I hear "Happy Mother's Day!! Do you have any nice plans?"
There are lots of people on this Mother's Day bandwagon, and I think everybody is so afraid that if they don't wish a woman a happy Mother's Day some permanent black mark will be entered onto their record. I find this very awkward, because I don't always know if I can say "and to you too!" back, because I often have no idea of whether a particular woman is a mother. And if she isn't, perhaps this is a painful topic for her, and I don't want to make her feel worse than she invariably already feels on this day.
Yes, my name is Tiffany, and I am an anti-Mother's Day-ite. Should there be a support group for us?
Mother's Day just feels so forced to me. I know that my family appreciates me, I don't need a special day for it. I truly hope that I make my mother and grandmother feel appreciated all year long, I know that I strive to.
Perhaps I'm just getting crotchedy in my old age. Use of the word "crotchedy" unfortunately bears this theory out, methinks. So, what say you? Does anybody else dislike Mother's Day?