I Didn’t Have a Good Mother’s Day

Wait, isn’t this weekend Father’s Day? And you’re talking about Mother’s Day, which was last month? Yes, I am. It’s my blog.

I’m normally not a huge celebrator of manufactured holidays. Valentine’s Day? Whatever; I’d rather celebrate Birthday Week and indulge for seven days straight. Sweetest Day? I don’t even know when that is and what the difference is. But since becoming a mother, I do feel happy to have a little day that reflects not only me, but also all of the great mamas I know.

But this past Mother’s Day I didn’t get anything from CH or Miss Red.

I’m partially to blame. I posted on Facebook the week before Mother’s Day that all I wanted was a nap, alone in the house. CH was happy to oblige, but when the day rolled around, I ended up hosting Mother’s Day for my mother, sister and stepfather, which was fine, but it did involve to cleaning the house. My mom partially gifted me a new sewing machine and gave me a card.

Here’s where the rub is. CH is an artist. Like, has showings and while he doesn’t draw people, has the ability to create truly beautiful images of people. One of my favorite memories ever of our time together is waking up when we lived in Columbus, Ohio, and seeing a picture of me he had sketched. It’s framed on my side of the bed, and remains one of the nicest gifts anyone has given me. And it didn’t cost anything.

So for almost three years now I’ve kind of nagged him to draw me a picture of Miss Red. He resists. But it’s All I Want.

I didn’t think that he would do it for Mother’s Day. I haven’t given up hope, but I don’t expect it. Well, not today. But I thought for sure that he would do some kind of cute art project with Miss Red, who is becoming a great artist in her own right. We all are as children, and she really enjoys it, too.

But there wasn’t anything from Miss Red or CH that I could open. No doodles of curated art or paint-splattered sheets of paper.

If you can stick with me and this poorly written post, you’ll know that it all worked out in the end. My mother and sister-in-law had us over for takeout, and later that night, knowing me as well as he does, CH asked, “you weren’t happy with today, were you?” And I didn’t hide it. I shared my feelings with him.

This isn’t about not asking for what I want or being passive aggressive or mopey. I told him that I want Miss Red to grow up loving to share gifts, not store-bought, because who needs another candle bought under duress, but the thought of something for a person she cares about. That could be a macaroni necklace, a sticker, a tracing of her hand. But that’s something that does need to be taught – how to be generous without spending money – and it’s a trait I value and want to cultivate in Miss Red. Again, it’s not about the money, but the actions behind thinking of someone and wishing them well. It’s what leads someone to say, “I’m so happy to see you,” or “I thought of you today.” It’s what glues you to friends, family and community. It’s what keeps us grounded and brave enough to adventure.

So while I got my time alone in the house, where I couldn’t fall asleep, I took a quick trip downtown. I spent a gift certificate at the local feminist book store. What did I get, one month in advance? CH’s Father’s Day present.

– MD

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6 thoughts on “I Didn’t Have a Good Mother’s Day

  1. Wow, this really hit me! I can identify so well. I have often thought “They really should have Father’s Day before Mother’s Day to give dads the opportunity to plan a little better for Mother’s Day.” In other words, from what I have heard and experienced, it seems to sneak up on them and they aren’t prepared and don’t put a lot of thought into it. (I know this isn’t the case for everyone, so I am just generalizing here.) Granted, this Mother’s Day, we were traveling home from a vacation. I did get a gift but it felt like a “oh-crap-i-have-find-something-quick” gift. I got a card from my husband only because his sister provided him with one to give me. Is this planning that we do just a mom thing? Do we moms just think things out more and for longer? I wonder if this is just a difference between sexes. Sometimes I tell myself that it is because it seems to minimize disappointments I encounter. Before leaving on our vacation, I had Mother’s Day cards with pictures all set to go from us and from our daughter to moms, grandmas, great grandmas, and friends. And I gave them to someone to mail for us so they wouldn’t get there two weeks early or a week late. And yes, my daughter and I have been planning our Father’s Day gifts for over a month now. You are so right when you say that it doesn’t have to cost money. The thought and time and loving kindness and excitement that is put into a “project” means so much more than something that can be bought at a store. All that said, I am sorry you didn’t have a good Mother’s Day. That’s the the good thing about communication. Because you expressed your feelings (as did I), we can hope for a better one next year, right? I guess the problem with that, though, is getting your hopes up. *Hugs*

  2. Couple quick things. i remember the post when you wrote about the nap and I thought that was a great idea. Of course, I also received the great handmade book with Miss Red’s artwork for THE day this year and LOVED it. We are still looking at her illustrations and marveling. i get what you are saying about embedding the thoughtful gift-giving gene — you are probably THE most consistent thoughtful gift giver I know (most people I think are more like me — sometimes inspired and sometimes not). My solution for Mother’s day? Two years ago G purchased a little “charm” with H’s face from Shutterfly — i attached it to my keyring and announced i want one of these every year FOREVER. This year I received another. i adore seeing which photo from the year that G selects. G gets to surprise me and H loves seeing how much he’s grown and (frankly) just loves looking at himself. Plus i get to picture myself as an old woman wandering around with a gaudy necklace of H snaps. Now Father’s Day. THAT’s a whole nother story. H and I have been putting it together for weeks.

    • Thanks, Nancy. I love the idea of the photos, and that speaks to how simple a gift can be. A scribble. A note. A goofy grin. Can’t wait to hear about what G gets!

  3. Thanks, Jenny. What you described is part of what I wrote about – wanting to instill a thoughtfulness in someone that I would also do if I had a son. I do think women are inculcated with these skills, but it’s not anything that can’t be learned!

  4. My Mother’s Day was also disappointing. As was last year. As was Christmas. As was my birthday. I love my husband, dearly, and he is awesome in a million little and big ways, but thoughtfulness around days that are special is NOT one of them. I want him to be that guy who understands I’d be thrilled to have him give me a handprint of our son, not that I’m asking for an iPad or something.

    I will definitely be the one responsible for teaching our kiddo to think about those things.

    • Thanks, Ginger. That’s exactly it – a hand print goes a long way! I also don’t want to be that mopey person about it, which is why I’m taking charge (in my opinion) and sharing my thoughts and feelings about it. Which may be mopey. Or not 🙂

      – MD

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