No Sugar Added: One mother of a Sunday
As I sit here beneath the glow of the so-called “supermoon” (which from my particular venue looks suspiciously like the non-super moon I’ve grown to know and love) I find myself once again amazed by the plethora of entertaining subject matter which presently fills my life.
My writer’s heart is torn between three topics: Mother’s Day, mothers moving daughters out of college dorm rooms, and the merit of justified libel suits against social media bullies.
As they say on Sesame Street, “one of these things is not like the other,” so I will save the misfit topic and focus on the motherhood thing for now.
So, Mother’s Day is once again upon us. But another thing that is upon us is the end of the spring college semester, and mothers (especially single mothers) everywhere are out in force – bagging, boxing and stuffing into vehicles the often frightening, disturbing (and sometimes moldy/unidentifiable) contents of their children’s dorm rooms. I had the pleasure of this experience today, and I can tell you it did not inspire within me a sappy verse to be featured on the inside of a Hallmark card. OK, perhaps there were one or two syrupy thoughts, but believe me when I tell you they were short-lived.
I think you already know my views on commercialized, sentimental holidays of all varieties: I wholeheartedly do not support them.
Sure I treasure the macaroni necklaces my children gave me in elementary school. What mother doesn’t love to wear macaroni? My own mother kept the Mother’s Day necklace I made for her out of disproportionately large clay beads – a necklace normally only sported by Wilma Flintstone or possibly Barbara Bush – until it disintegrated decades later. I’m pretty sure she even wore it to brunch.
And certainly I get misty-eyed reading the cards written with crayon on now-slightly-faded construction paper. I mean, the entire holiday is concocted to make us weep. To foster amnesia surrounding the 96 hours of labor, poopy diaper changes, week-long stomach viruses, nights of colic and our hair turning all shades of gray in emergency rooms at 2 a.m.
Of course, the Hallmark fantasy does occasionally come to fruition, and it’s a day of sweetness and butterflies and wildflowers and gourmet waffles in bed.
But this is the exception, not the rule.
There have been years (during both my marriage and my widowhood) when all I’ve wanted for Mother’s Day was an appointment with a 29-year-old masseuse named Eduardo. Or a room at a hotel in a child-unfriendly city. Or a trip on the space shuttle.
Admittedly, as my children have grown, Mother’s Day has changed. Whether it’s for the better remains to be seen. They can now happily cook an edible breakfast for me, although the point is lost because, as teenagers, they are waking up to prepare breakfast just as I’m ready to eat dinner.
This year, tragically, work is preventing my being with my wonderful children on the day of maternal bliss. And although Charles has already attempted to lay a guilt trip on me, I’m not buying it. When he gave me his patented “this will damage me for life” gaze, I reminded him that last Mother’s Day I was abandoned by my adoring children and left to fend for myself.
Guilt is a four-letter word and any mother who falls for that manipulation should receive a gift certificate for a therapy session.
If today’s dorm-moving experience was my Mothers’ Day preview, then I think I’m off the hook. As I worked up a proper motherly sweat, jamming bags of dirty clothing and Fruit Loops and art projects and books and platform shoes and cacti and who knows what else into our vehicle, Ophelia was kind enough to remind me that I could conceivably be repeating this process another 22 times before my children’s college careers are over.
This news depressed me severely and I am now thinking of making plans to abandon ship on Father’s Day, too.
Happy Mother’s Day to all of my partners in motherly crime. Hang tough. And remember, macaroni – not diamonds – are a girl's best friend.