Mother’s Day: Hallmark vs. Reality

Mother’s Day.

Hallmark and the like have created a vision for us of what this day should be….

*cue sentimental yet playful music*…

Mother is awoken from her peaceful slumber first by the bright rays of the mid-morning sun streaking across her pastel floral bedspread. The birds chirp and the sound of small feet coming closer to the bedroom door make Mother smile. She sits up against the plethora of tastefully chosen feather pillows, her hair a delightfully tidy messy pony tail, her smooth, young face and rosy lips show off her perfect white teeth and her dark and luscious lashes. The door opens and two children bounce onto the bed while Father brings in a wooden tray with a complete breakfast for Mother to enjoy. Somehow the coffee and mimosa avoid being spilled while Mother opens her gifts. Moments later, they’re gone again, leaving Mother to enjoy her breakfast, still piping hot, in peace.

Hours later and after a long bubble bath, she emerges from the bedroom like a princess from her castle. A picnic has quietly been prepared for her while she luxuriated in solace, and the children wait for her in the car. They arrive at the park, which, despite the beautiful weather, is remarkably free of other families, birds, bugs, or anything that may mark a pock in the perfect complexion of this day. They enjoy their picnic, where, miraculously, nothing is forgotten or spilled and the children both eat a generous portion of healthy delicacies without so much as a peep. Running off to play, Father tidies the picnic and then the happy couple cuddles in the sun while they watch their children play completely independently for what seems like hours.

Later, over hot coffees from the thermos, Mother and Father will blow bubbles and fly kites with the children. Everyone runs and laughs and plays. 

The day continues in a similar fashion, ending with dessert and cuddles before the children quickly and quietly retreat to their beds, never coming back out of their rooms until 7:00 the next morning.  

What a perfect day…not a hitch, nor a complaint. Mother moved throughout it like a soft, downy feather floating down a gently babbling brook…

But ACTUALLY…that doesn’t happen for very many. Don’t get me wrong: my Mother’s Day was absolutely lovely and I enjoyed nearly every moment of it. Husband and Father in Law (FIL) worked hard to ensure that Mother in Law (MIL) and I felt loved and cared for and we did. They cooked us breakfast and dinner and shooed us from the kitchen when we tried to help. They gave us flowers and facilitated gifts from the kids and we did go to the playground and out for ice cream. The food was delicious and I felt truly appreciated.

But also.
Also I couldn’t help but do a few chores that weighed on my mind and I knew I wouldn’t be able to relax until I did them the way I wanted because that’s how I roll. And also I was awake at 7:00am, in bed with The Little because he had a fever the night before and I wanted to be close to him through the night so I wouldn’t worry. And also there were blackflies EVERYWHERE when we sat outside. And also The Little was NOT pleased that McDonald’s doesn’t sell chocolate ice cream and was even LESS pleased when our attempt to create chocolate ice cream by mixing hot fudge into vanilla ice cream failed miserably because it was not “brown enough” and not even worthy of a taste. And also that same Little burnt his fingers on a sparkler at dessert and I behaved like an asshole and YELLED at him to stop crying so we could just eat the “damn cake” and then immediately felt like the *worst mother of the year* because not only does yelling at someone literally NEVER make pain go away OR help them to stop crying but I also single handedly ruined the very dessert that I was afraid his upset would ruin. THEN I carried the guilt and shame of that around all night long like an over-packed ruck sack that I just wouldn’t put down. ESPECIALLY because I was already feeling sadness for my friends who are Mothers and don’t have the option of having their children with them on this day because they live only in Heaven and in their hearts. And I was missing my Grandma. And I was thinking of my friends whose husbands are deployed and so Mother’s Day is just a regular Sunday and they don’t get ANYTHING special.

So, there’s that.
And I talked with my Soul Sister, Miss A. She’d had a rocky moment in her day, too. And I expressed that I was frustrated that, essentially, my day was anything other than the perfect flawless fairy tale. And it was she who pointed out that real life happens on every day of the year, whether or not Hallmark or whomever has tried to make us think otherwise. I sent her pictures of our time at the playground and of the happiest moments of our day and she reminded me that except for a few dicey moments, it was actually a pretty f*cking awesome day. And I really needed that reminder because it is so, so easy to focus on the sum total of maybe 90 minutes that were tricky and forget about the 12 hours that were great. If I were looking at someone else and listening to them tell me the very same story, I would be reminding them of that, too. So why is it so hard for us to do that for ourselves? I guess that’s why we need our best friends and soul sisters, isn’t it?

So thank you to you, Miss A. But also to Miss S and Miss J and to all of the women in my tribe, both here and all over. From each of you I have learned and continue to learn things about not only parenting but of being a real life human woman and there’s no way I could be even a fraction of who I am without literally every single one of you.

It is my hope that for all of your who acknowledged Mother’s Day yesterday, that you have a Soul Sister in your life to help shine some light on the dark corners and help you celebrate the light everywhere else. Whether you were with your own Mom or child, or whether they were elsewhere in the country or elsewhere in your heart, I hope you were able to find joy and to treat yourself with the same grace and compassion that you would offer to your own very best friends.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Love Mel

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