Awful Wonderful Mother's Day
Scheduling graduation on Mother’s Day is an overload for my family. Four times this has happened. Four times there’ve been hissy fits, screaming, and punctuality issues—and I’m not talking about the kids’ behavior!
I love graduations- their renewal and promise, like the first daffodils of spring! Such joy. Such hope. Such potential. I love the pomp, the regalia, the speeches, the beachballs!
Mother’s Day, on the other hand, lets me down. When I was small, I recall my own mom crying on the holiday because we three children hadn’t bought her gifts. She blamed Dad. Disappointment ran amuck that day. I think Dad mowed the lawn twice to stay outdoors. Even during the rain storm! He preferred his chances with the elements.
Maybe it’s hereditary. Perhaps my family has a faulty gratitude gene. Our DNA doesn’t recognize what mothers sacrifice for their offspring. My children have inherited the INGRATE chromosome. And, my husband’s got his own genetic misstep. Any occasion that arises which requires him to be seated somewhere on time causes a snit fit. The combination of their ungratefulness and his lollygagging makes for one un-Happy Mother’s Day!
My grandmas used to receive gardenia corsages on the holiday. Now, I’d be overjoyed with a smelly pinned flower. Even a plastic one will do. As an adult child, I used to buy my mom fragrances. Likewise, I’d be content with eau de toilette. Or a bar of soap, even an itsy bitsy one from Hotel 6.
Actually this year, I received a bulb remover from my third son so that I can transplant tulips with ease. My daughter handed me a spiral notebook with her grad photo as the cover. I remember the visa charge for those graduation pictures last month and the charge for the bulb remover. My two older boys gave me-- - the big goose egg--- nada--- zilch. One showed up for his sis’s graduation. The other lad had another obligation for the weekend, but he did drop off his dog, Grylls, for us to keep a few months. He told me I’d enjoy the dachsund’s company and “BTW, FYI,” he added as he fleet -footed to the door, “Grylls likes freshly cooked bacon each morning along with his eggs.”
My birthday falls the week before this national holiday. Again, surprise! I got zippo. Unless I procure a cake and insist on a dinner out or make the meal myself, nothing’s going to happen! When inevitably no fuss is made, I feel bitter.
Because this behavior is ingrained in my offspring, I’ve inured myself in advance. I expect nothing May 4. Consequently, on that day I don’t feel slighted and don’t throw myself the Mother of All Pity Parties! The next day, May 5, I drown myself in margaritas celebrating Cinco de Mayo and pretend that the entire nation south of the border is really partying because of my birthday; they are just doing it a little late.
What did other moms do right that makes them the benefactors of cards, bouquets, gifts, and hugs? I slaved for my youngin’s, and yet it seems they suffer debilitating amnesia when this sentimental payback day rolls round. Hold on! Wait a minute! What am I grousing about? I forgot: My oldest sent me a Facebook message! He poked me!
Combining the mommy celebration and college graduation seems logical. For me, Mothers Day gets short shrift, so let’s have a planned activity that morning instead of my frying bacon for the brood and the dog.
I did love the Tar Heels college graduation! After all, my “Mini Me” holding a diploma in reality, is the BEST present a mom can receive. Even though I didn’t tear off a corner of it or scribble my name in after hers, I know, I know, I know, I had a little something to do with my student’s success! And so, I smile a Cheshire cat’s grin of satisfaction suppressing the urge to howl like a hyena and thump my chest like a basketball player. And deep in my heart, it was all worth it! Even being PTA President, the most thankless of all tasks!
But next year, could my kids forgo their cup of joe and save all their latte lucre to buy their old mama a garden gnome? This elfish soul-mate peak-a-booing out from the tulips will keep me company as I dig in the dirt next to the dog I’m keeping. And what’s more, with this smiling, affirming, ceramic buddy, I won’t have to share my bacon!
Bio: Erika Hoffman writes non-fiction narratives for nationally known anthologies, secular and religious magazines, medical e-zines, and travel articles. She penned a novel about teen bullying using a nom de plume, too! You can check out more at www.secretsliesandgrace.vpweb.