Let us be clear, I am a firm believer in Mother’s Day – particularly because I am a mother. The gifts, the hugs, the cake – I earned them all. Once a year? If life were just, there would be a mother’s day at least every month. Hallmark, get on it!
If you think I exaggerate about my just dues, I shall explain. We’ll begin at the beginning. Pregnancy, the torture of nature devised for mothers, is pale preparation for what’s to come. I’ve heard the urban myths that some women smile and glow throughout pregnancy. I threw up. For five months. With three daughters produced, consider it having the flu for fifteen months. And the crazy part was I planned and wanted every one of them. There is an insanity to motherhood. Someone should look into that.
So I staggered and moaned my way through pregnancy, and had everything wrong with me that wasn’t medically significant. Lank hair, zits, beached whale syndrome. The usual. Then there was the actual production of short people. I know you’re expecting a horror story but I guess my girls realized they’d already put me through enough, so the actual popping themselves into the world wasn’t so bad. Not a thrill ride. But not so bad.
Screech forward to baby times. I remember so well my cologne of the time, eau de spit up. And of course, the joy of teething. Crying, diarrhea, sleeplessness, and all for a few little white nubs.
(As a side note we got through the pain with Tia Maria shots – a sip for me; a little rubbed on the gums for them. Don’t judge…my doctor actually suggested it and it worked for all of us. Desperate measures.)
Because I had gotten used to misery, I rather liked the terrible twos. It set me up for the teen years that came later. I learned how many ways a person with minimal reasoning skills can try to self-destruct and still flail about and scream “No!” as you tried to save them. There is no gratitude among the young. Shakespeare made a few comments about the situation…but I digress.
I would prefer to avoid even thinking about the elementary school years: soccer in the rain, birthday parties where lice was spread to the birthday girl, carpooling to three different schools, packing regularly rejected lunches, chaperoning field trips. I had a friend who said she was praying that someone would notice how crazy her life was and lock her up in a padded room, alone, where no one ever cried, “Mommy!”
Teen years. Don’t go there. You know it’s ugly. Even with the best of teens (and mine were pretty awesome all things considered), there are tantrums, outrage, prom dresses, driver’s licenses, boyfriends, lack of boyfriends, college applications, essays, more sports in the rain…. All those rumors. True, every one. I swear.
And then they go and grow up. Just when you’ve got them to top-form human being status, they leave! There you stand, no one to nag, nobody to sob out their troubles on your shoulders, no one who needs to have that talk in the middle of the night. Damn.
As my mother used to say, if you’re any good as a mother, you work yourself right out of a job.
But my girls know what is important. There were phone calls from the distant ones, shrieks of “Hi Grandma!” from the next generation of short people. And of course there was cake. On Mother’s Day, cake is sweetened with love, not sugar. Two pieces, even three are just fine. Not a calorie among them.
And if for some crazy reason, cake does not appear for every mother you know, I’m willing to share. We all deserve it.
Here’s to the mothers who raised us, the mothers we became, and above all here’s to the next generation of mothers who will be joining the long, unbroken lines of our hearts.