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Passing on Mother's Day Traditions
Here it comes again – that day that we all honor our mothers. While growing up I enjoyed this holiday. It was my chance to do for my mother as she did for me daily. The breakfast made, the TV remote hers, the waiting on hand and foot. The goofy gifts I made at school and tried hard to hide until that special day and watched over for the next month to make sure she REALLY liked it.
As I got into my teens, the holiday morphed into cards I’d spend an hour picking out along with a gift that was just perfect. Something I knew she wanted but wouldn’t get for herself. As I became an adult, it became dinner and do you remember? with my mother joking at me that she hoped I had kids who were just like me.
Then THEY happened – my own children. The first couple of years weren’t bad- Dad picked out the gifts and I got dinner out. Generally a really nice stress free day focused on me. Then it happened – the dreaded “I want to do it myself!” Instead of being the giver of gifts and help, I was the receiver. Oohhhh yes, I got it alright and my own mother’s joking revenge is complete. Because, sorry kids, you are all a lot like me!
I now cringe when Mother’s Day is just around the corner. I lie awake at night wondering what that childless elementary school teacher has thought up to torture us mothers for daring to bring that particular group of children into the world this year. Please God, let it not be melty or moldy this year! I avoid the older children’s beseeching looks and hints for chores for cash. I know what they are up to – they want to “buy” me something. I refuse to finance my own holiday – not to mention having to chauffeur them to the store and having to wait in the car while they hem and haw and decide which pair of ugly slippers or bathrobe, smelly perfume or useless “timesaver” they will come up with. As they get older, it’s getting harder to find excuses they will believe about why these items tend to disappear!
And so, I spend my Mother’s Day – soothing upset little ones because their present “broked” and figuring out how to fix the unfixable. Assuring the older ones that the perfume and body bath combo they got me is absolutely divine without mentioning that as soon as I opened the bottle, paint started peeling off the bathroom ceiling. Cleaning up the hurricane in the kitchen that all my little chefs created to make me breakfast. Thank God for dishwashers, soft scrub and Tums. Uneasily ensconced on the couch with a favorite book while several pairs of eyes constantly scan me to make sure that I am comfy, have the right snacks, right amount of ice in my soda, not too hot, not too cold, don’t I need a pillow?
That night I will call my mother and regress to fifteen again. “Mom!” I wail, “Guess what they did this year?!?!” Torn between laughing and crying, I will lay it all on her, including the fact it is her fault for cursing me with children just like me. We both laugh like loons over the do you remembers again. As we begin to say our good-nights, I am again reminded about why I think my mother is so smart. She tells me that it is time to pass along her words of wisdom to her granddaughters, “I just hope you have children just like you someday!”
Hmmm – as usual mom – you are right. Maybe that will get me dinner next year…and they better not use my kitchen to cook it!