An Unvarnished View of Mother’s Day

I love my kids.  More than anything.  I really, really do.  But I really don’t care for Mother’s Day.  Call me crazy, but every year, I wake up on the second Sunday of May with unrealistically high expectations that involve my being treated like a queen (albeit of a very small kingdom).  That fantasy has now officially been quashed.

In the spirit of being completely honest, I find Mother’s Day to be a pressure-filled trap of a Hallmark holiday where I’m expected to put on a happy face, even when my kids are cranky, hate on each other and generally act like pills.  If the day isn’t going to feel any different from most other days, I’d rather we just call the day what it actually is: a Sunday.

Mother’s Day morning always starts out with great fanfare and optimism – breakfast in bed, homemade cards, thoughtful presents.  From there, however, all bets are off. One daughter inevitably doesn’t want to go to the restaurant we’ve chosen and pouts the entire time we’re there.  The other daughter upsets her sister by refusing to play a game with her at the restaurant – her refusal serves as retribution for her sister’s attitude towards her earlier in the day. One daughter is too hot and tired at the park, and just wants to go home, never mind the fact that it’s by far the most glorious day of the year. That same kid suddenly perks up once we go for ice cream, but by then the day is half-over and I’m already exhausted from listening to the bitching and moaning.  We try to play a game once we return home, but we all argue because we’re three generations (Grammy played, too) of peas in a pod who are competitive, impatient and expert at interrupting each other mid-speech.

The photo above perfectly captures Mother’s Day for me.  Chloe always puts on a happy face – even when she’s annoyed – because let’s face it, she leads a charmed life and she is young and carefree and she’d never not want to look good for the camera. Sophie is straining not to pinch Chloe’s arms as they envelop her.  My little one requires enormous amounts of coaxing to smile for the camera when she’s cranky. It was a small miracle that Sophie deigned to give me a Mona Lisa-style upward turn of her mouth for this photo.  It only came about because I used Mother’s Day to guilt her into allowing me to take a few photos today.

Even Truffle couldn’t be bothered to recognize that it’s supposed to be a special day.  I tried playing fetch with him and he ignored me in order to eat mulch and grass.  He’s a traitor.

I sound ungrateful, perhaps, for disparaging a day that has taken on such importance for so many people. My kids mean the world to me. But when I reflect on the events of a given year, Mother’s Day never approaches the top 10 or even top 20.  I find my joy in the smaller and mundane moments that occur year-round and remind me about why I signed on to the mom gig in the first place.  There are so many of them. Seeing the pride on Sophie’s face when she finishes a school project or gets 100% on a math test. Listening to Chloe recount her day at school or excitedly describe her new favorite book.

Witnessing Chloe and Sophie be nice to each other (yes, it does happen every now and then, just not on Mother’s Day). Sitting down for dinner as a family and watching the girls and their Papa laugh over one of Papa’s silly jokes.  Going to the movies with Chloe. Sitting next to Sophie on the couch while she’s reading a book. Taking Chloe to her friend’s house for a sleepover. Cuddling with Sophie when she crawls into my bed early in the morning.  I’d happily trade in a lifetime of Mother’s Days for a never-ending supply of these daily memories.

So, let’s all agree.  No more Mother’s Days.  Just Sundays.

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