Seeing it all wrong

For reasons I don't entirely understand, Mother's Day causes me a fair amount of angst and anxiety. Not because of my own mom. I mean, it goes without saying that she rocks. I sent her a bunch of quirky stuff for Mother's Day plus one practical thing - a Kohl's gift card. I spoke to her on the phone last night and I think she dug the gifts. I told her I love her and wished her a Happy Mother's Day. It's all good.

The angst is related to my role as a mom. If I'm being absolutely honest, I'm uncomfortable getting any special attention on Mother's Day. For moms who didn't give birth to their children, there is a whole separate undercurrent. If someone is going to give you a child, you'd better be the most spectacular mom the world has ever known.  I am sure much of it stems from my own anxieties and insecurities. I didn't give birth to her. I don't deserve her. I'm a terrible mother.  

I didn't ask for any gifts for Mother's Day this year. I did, however, ask for a day off. The division of labor in our home can seem a little very lopsided at times. I'm sure it's not intentional, but when I cook dinner for my family and then they get up from the table without saying a word (and often without taking their dishes to the sink), for me it reinforces what I already suspected . . . you're not a good wife, not a good mother.  What you do for us has no value. Remind me to add self-pity to my list of issues. I thought maybe a day off would reset my internal barometer or something. I don't know. When I told my daughter that I was taking the day off, she said, "Well, I guess we'll have a dirty house then."  I had to laugh at the thought that it didn't occur to her to take on a couple of household chores on her own. Anyway, so far this morning I've picked up dog poop in the yard, mopped the kitchen floor, made my daughter's lunch for tomorrow, and scrubbed some spots on the carpet. This "day off" business kicks ass! (Adding "self-righteous" and "martyr" to the list right now.)

When my daughter heard me say that I didn't want any gifts, just a day off, I quickly realized that I'd hurt her feelings. She wrote me a long letter letting me know that she already had a gift for me and that I shouldn't say I don't want a gift. I apologized and did my best to make it up to her. I took her to a bluegrass concert last night, bought her a new hat, and then painted her fingernails and toenails. She could cut steak with some of those toenails, but that's a whole other story. This morning she presented me with some vanilla scented bubble bath. I told her I will use it tonight.  She won it at school with some sort of "Bravo Bingo" game they play in her classroom. She and her classmates get their bingo card stamped for things like good behavior, turning in homework, etc. I thought it was sweet that she used her prize to get something for me. She did offer to make me breakfast in bed this morning, but I politely declined because I wake up hours before she does. There's just no way to make the logistics work. I mean, I guess I could've woken her up but c'mon . . that's crazy talk! Sometimes I wake up grumpy, sometimes I just let her sleep. 

While I may not feel that I deserve my awesome kid, I hope it goes without saying that my love for her is utterly bottomless. She tells me I'm beautiful. She draws pictures of me in which I am always wearing ballgowns and tiaras. She writes me letters telling me how much she loves me. I just don't know how to justify my great good fortune, this wonderful - if undeserved - gift, this amazing child I get to raise. Please, please, don't let me bungle this too badly.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas out there!


Sam said…
Your family getting up from the dinner table without saying a word does not mean you've done a bad job, it means THEY'RE being rude! :-)

This is a great post. I also wanted a day off today--we need it! However, unlike you, I also wanted the gifts!

Happy Mother's Day! Your daughter is lucky to have you!
Unknown said…
Was interesting reading your post and I think you are an amazing person and your daughter is lucky to have someone like you. "Not being a Mom" here was my perspective on all this Mother's Day hoopla.

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