Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Is Not My Idea

I'm going to be brutally honest with all of you. Well, all two of you that may have continued to read my blog. I hope that once you read this, you will continue to be my friends and/or family.


I really don't. Not anymore. Oh, there were times I loved the celebration of my being a mom, when my four offspring were younger. I remember little handprints on papers in bright colors, crafty mother's day gifts from elementary school that my babies were dying to give to me. Some couldn't wait until Sunday and I was given those gifts as they climbed down from their yellow school buses the Friday before a Mother's Day. Eyes bright with the joy of giving me something they had made themselves.

There were breakfasts in bed. One Mother's Day my two youngest girls slaved in the kitchen and brought me a plate of food that did not in fact look like something edible. Since they knew my favorite color was pink, they used some food coloring on the scrambled eggs and the french toast. There wasn't fruit in the eggs or raspberries on top--just food coloring. The mess in the kitchen was of epic proportions, as has often been the case on many a mother's day across the world. I didn't mind cleaning it up. I've cleaned up worse things.

Over the years, as some of the kids have moved from diapers to tricycles, from hula hoops to makeup and then on to what passes for adulthood, I have become a bit jaded at times about parenthood. This in no way means that I love my children any less. Anyone around me knows that I love each and every one of them. However, having said that, there is still a reality that cuts deeply into my heart. They do not love me in return.. Not in the way that I love them---and I can't expect them to. I remember every boo boo that I kissed, I remember every night I slept next to a hospital bed or health care worker or school I went to battle against for the sake of my child. My memories of holding precious newborns, nuzzling the necks of my toddlers, wanting to wake them up in the middle of the night just to play with them, are all so very fresh in my mind.

However, they do not hold the same memories that I do.

“Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did - that everything involving our children was painful in some way. The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain. The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that - a parent's heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.” ― Debra Ginsberg

There have been times during their teenage years that I have wanted to run away. I remember my mother telling me that she had wanted to leave once---go alone to a motel, soak in a tub and just sleep. But this was when my older sister was gravely ill for years, she had three other small children and no one in her family--extended or otherwise---was there to give her any relief. Mom didn't want to leave when we were teenagers, because we never gave her any problems. We were good kids. Mom ruled the roost with an iron fist, and there have been times I wondered if our obedience came from fear of consequences or a simple knowledge of right from wrong. I'd like to think it was the latter, but I know it was sprinkled with a bit of the former. Mom loved her grandchildren with an intensity rivaling the sun at midday. I'm grateful to her for her love and advice as I became a mom once, twice, thrice and then a fourth time. When I miscarried, she cried with me. When I faced numerous illnesses and hospitalizations with my babies, she was always there. She was a blessing in my life.

We taught our babies how to pray, to have faith and to be kind. Do unto others, the golden rule and to be compassionate. I honestly remember doing these things. I do. But you know what? It must not have stuck with them. Not with all of them, at any rate. Their daddy was in the hospital for three surgeries in the past 9 months. They didn't come to see him. I nearly died and spent five days in the hospital recently. They never came to my beside.

Now Mother's Day is on Sunday. One child texted about coming to dinner. Really? That's nice. No, it's not. I'm not making dinner. In fact I do not plan to be here. I do not want contrived moments, false protestations of a love that is clearly not there in their actions or treatment of either me or their father. Perhaps I'm being petty, you may think. Well, that's ok. It might be true.

What I know, and what I feel is this: You cannot make someone feel something that they clearly do not feel. As is often said, actions speak louder than words. What I also know is that I do not have to put myself in a place where I am continually hurt. There is too much stress in my over-crowded life to keep feeling this hurt---but I do not know how to set aside my love for them in order to make it not hurt. When I see pictures of other mom's with their children, when I hear them say their children have become their best friends, I get a little catch in my throat.

Margaret Atwood “No mother is ever, completely, a child's idea of what a mother should be, and I suppose it works the other way around as well. But despite everything, we didn't do too badly by one another, we did as well as most.” ― Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

So perhaps I am not what their idea of what a mother should have been, and they are not my idea of what grown children should be like. I suppose we will all have to live with those emotions. Thankfully, I won't have to live with them as long.

Happy Mother's Day everyone...


  1. I was trying really hard to keep some of my paycheck to get flowers for my mom for Mother's day. I even reworked a payment arrangement with a collector to do so. Didn't work. So I went to ask a neighbor for some lilacs from his tree. Just two or three from the alley side. He said no. I am still going to the grave after church though and chances are, if the family wants to eat, I will have to cook dinner. Le sigh.

  2. You are a good daughter. I plan on visiting my mom in her garden of stone as well. Perhaps I'll take a chair and spend the day talking with her. Telling her how much I miss her. Although there are times I am very grateful that she has passed over to the other side. She's out of pain. She would have been so broken to have experienced so many of things that have happened since she passed. I'm thankful she's at peace.

  3. It took me a few years into my 'adulthood' to fully appreciate my momma. Now I call her a few times a week and always love the time talking to her. :) Don't give up hope for a change of heart.
    You are worth being thankful for.

  4. Kerry, you are very kind. I have been living in hope for quite a few years. I do not foresee a change in them until I am on the other side. This is the reality I now embrace.

  5. It took me until my mid 20s (and after I moved out of the house) to gain a full appreciation of my parents. In my teens, I treated them horribly.
    Give them time and space, and they will come back to you sooner or later.

  6. oh ugh...Mother's day is such a twisted...some years I love it, other years I wish I'd never given birth. Church is generally the hear about all the perfect mother's over the years that have raised these wonderful people and where else could you have gone wrong??? And then the kids...I totally feel your pain. Really. I don't know what all is going on, but may I say that it seems to be everywhere? I have one kid that just barely started talking to us last year after a two year hiatus where we hadn't even seen our granddaughter since birth...
    And talking to us is coming and sleeping in the house because he works nights and can't be bothered to really spend time with us. So...there ya go. But at least I do have a couple that love to buy me things, spend time with me and will do what I I'm sorry you don't have that, and I'm sorry you had to deal with the day. I pray that it gets better. For all of us...but especially you and your family.


Go ahead....tell me the truth :)