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.