I logged into FB midday on Mother’s Day because I was feeling like crap. I know. A bad idea. My unconscious hope was to escape my disappointing reality of a day that was NOT going my way. Instead, I immediately headed down the FB rabbit hole, where all sense of time and human relationships disappear. There were, for sure, a few links to interesting articles, but mostly I found myself tripping over photo after photo of picture perfect Mother’s Days of picture perfect families. Walks on the beach, picnics in parks, breakfasts in bed. And everyone was smiling!
“Wow,” I thought to myself. “Those people really have this parenting thing figured out!”
Self pity set in.
If you want to know what my Mother’s Day looked like IRL (without the FB-colored glasses), read on…
The day started out great! By some miracle, my husband and I slept in until 9:30 and got up feeling rested and energized. I took a nice hot shower while he headed to the kitchen to make us all fresh buttermilk pancakes and chop fresh California fruit. The house was warm and smelled yummy.
The boys and I sat at the table as David served us round after round of his fabulous feast. He had even prepared fresh hot chocolate “like (his) mom used to make”.
So far, so good.
And then the shoe dropped.
“What should we do today,” I asked, hoping for descriptions of those adventures I would later see posted on FB.
“We’re not going on any hikes or bike rides!” the boys blurted out, as if they’d rehearsed the skit especially for me on Mother’s Day.
And then my next bad move… I engaged them.
“It’s Mother’s Day, guys. Come on. I want to do something that I like to do.” I was borderline whining.
“Everyday is Mother’s Day!” they retorted. “You always decide what we’re going to do.”
And then the little one chimed in.
“Yeah. And anyway, today is SONday. Get it? So we should get to decide what we’re doing.”
“Funny. To me it seems like every day is SONday. All I’m asking for is just ONE day where we do something I like to do!”
I buried myself deeper.
It felt like my special day was doomed.
As the last of the pancake batter was poured into the pan, the kids got up one by one and went about their business.
One shoved a card in my direction that was very sweet despite its sour delivery. Another went outside to play basketball. The third began tossing an “outside ball” around the living room.
“Happy Mother’s Day!” my husband offered, with not even an attempt to hide the sarcasm. And then he handed me a beautifully wrapped gift. In typical David fashion, he had made a sweet craft of a card. Inside the package was a new skirt that I didn’t really like.
“Thanks,” I said, feigning a smile (not my forte).
I plopped myself down on the couch, feeling like crap.
My husband cleaned the kitchen, gathered up the boys and the dog, and headed to the park.
“Figure out what you want to do,” he said, “and when we get back, we’ll do it.”
They left. And I cried.
Not another crappy Mother’s Day!
After a few minutes my emotional skies cleared and I remembered what I already knew, which was that if I wanted to make something happen I needed to put out a clear intention and share my excitement. I needed to take responsibility for my own happiness.
The reason I received three sweet cards from my boys was that I asked for them. In my bi-yearly request (my birthday and Mother’s Day) I always ask each of them to write me a card telling me three things they appreciate about me. They know the drill and they do it. I don’t write the cards for them, but I do ask them to write them because I know that’s how I feel loved, and I know that’s not how they show it in the day to day. I ask for what I need.
I looked at my watch. The day was ticking away. I texted my husband that I was going to exchange the skirt he’d bought, and asked that he help the kids get their school stuff ready for the week. We’d meet at the house at 4 and head into San Francisco.
When I arrived home at 3:55, there were three additional kids playing basketball in my driveway. I swallowed my disappointment at the lack of everyone sitting in the car, jackets in hand, ready to go.
“We’re leaving in five minutes!” I yell, hoping that either my kids will take note and get ready, or the other kids will suggest that they do.
“Do I have to go?” one shouts back.
I ignore him. I walk in the house and grab my ski jacket, knowing that it will be 20 degrees cooler 40 minutes from here.
After a fairly short argument (2 minutes, maybe) about who has to sit in the middle seat in the back, we’re on our way.
One of the kids brought a box of pre-printed questions to keep us busy on the ride. Nice going, kid!
The car ride, believe it or not, was actually really fun. Lots of traffic, but lots of laughter as we each answered all sorts of interesting questions which shed lots of light on how we are all connected but unique, and think so differently from one another.
San Francisco was amazing! Under the bright blue skies, we played tourist. We watched artists create beautiful skylines out of spray paint, ate at some tourist trap of a restaurant with long lines, mediocre food, and tacky decor, and shimmied our way through a super fun laser maze, landing ourselves in the top ten competitors of the week!
My Mother’s Day wasn’t perfect, but it was actually just fine. It was not one of our family’s best days together, but it was far from the worst. And, most importantly, I was able to reboot about ¾ of the way through it, and take responsibility for creating my own reality. Thinking back, I probably could have even shot one of those perfect Mother’s Day FB photos and stuck it up for you all to see. But I’m me, and I’d rather tell it like it is.
P.S. How was your Mother’s Day? Were you able to overcome a challenge? Did you have a moment of sweetness?