Being a mother is more often than not a thankless job, especially for single mothers. Mother’s Day is the designated thanking day. In two-parent families, the other partner has some implicit obligation to make arrangements to observe the day which, let’s be honest, is just another Hallmark conspiracy.
In the weeks leading up to today, we have been especially busy, but the kids have talked about Mother’s Day. The boys wanted to make some special breakfast and they added gluten free baking mix to the cart at the grocery store. The first of us had to be at church by 7:45, and the last of us by nine so that didn’t work out. Sissy asked what I wanted and I suggested we go hiking together in the afternoon, but I am sick again, increasingly so. Thus that also didn’t happen.
Everyone said Happy Mother’s Day and no doubt they meant it. I’ve said it before that expectation really is premeditated resentment. These three, they’re still kids, and some narcissism is developmentally appropriate. Also I know they love me and I know they take me for granted and I know they will not ever fully appreciate what I do for them, the sacrifices I make. They will never fully appreciate how loved they are, either, unless or until they have children of their own; maybe not even then.
It was a good day anyway. As much as I wanted to spend it in bed, I got up and went to church where my daughter and her peers spoke in the annual Youth Sunday service. It was moving and inspiring as it always is. A group of bright, thoughtful kids talked about the things that keep them up at night, about their fears, their disappointments, and their hopes. I cried.
In the fellowship hall after the services, I heard the words Happy Mother’s Day dozens of times, all heartfelt. I called my I-wish-she-were-my-mother and I went for lunch with some of my favorite people. Even though my boys weren’t spectacularly well-behaved, they sat at another table and there was friendship and laughter among the adults.
I came home and slept for several hours and woke to several kind notes. I was also feeling worse, limp and wilted like a dry plant left to die. Sissy brought me some tea and a packet of tissues.
One of the kindest people I know came by after a run to the pharmacy for me. There was whispering in the kitchen and a few minutes later, Little Man came in with a very sweet card. “I love you, it’s true,” he wrote, “I’m sorry you had a devil for a husband.” Yes, I laughed.
Everyone is quiet. It was a Happy Mother’s Day.