On Mother’s Day I wake up a half hour early so I can sneak out of bed before anyone gets the clever idea of bringing me breakfast and to have a moment of peace before I receive my sanctioned doses of gratitude. At 6:30 a.m., my son assured me that we can play games all day because mother’s day means getting to do whatever I want. We clearly have different definitions of what I “want.” However, after waking up with a timeline full of Facebook tributes to mom, I feel compelled to bring my “A” game. Also, I remain haunted by the All about Mom Questionnaire my son brought home from school.
Number seven is a dagger to the heart. Luckily, his answering that my favorite food is salad throws the validity of form into question. I rationalize that he was probably thinking of the words he hears every morning when I drop him off to school (that’s right drop him off because I am too soft-hearted to make him ride the bus). Still, even in this context, it pushes the big flashing guilt button every working mom has.
Adding to the damning questionnaire is the history lesson of the day that Mother’s Day was created to pay homage to the great work done by women. In particular, Anna Jarvis wanted to recognize her mother Anne Reeve Jarvis, who spent her free time (a whole other concept in the 1860s) teaching women how to care for their children. Only four of her eleven children lived to be adults due to poor sanitation and lack of vaccinations at the time. She also organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day” after the Civil War, which brought together mothers and soldiers from both the Union and the Confederacy in order to “promote reconciliation.”
I realize now that allowing my daughter to use my bath tub today was not such a large sacrifice. After all, she did bring her own bubble bath. If we learn anything about the legends of motherhood, it is that self-sacrifice is a virtue. I tried valiantly to wear the mantle through sibling spats, six-year-old male rambunctiousness (my son’s new life ambition is to be a WWE wrestler), an endless round of storytelling in a cramped indoor fort, etc. Unfortunately, I am only human.
The day ends with my daughter first “accidentally” dropping a toy in the toilet and then later an entire roll of toilet paper. For the safety of all, I explained to her that she needed to remove herself from my line of vision. The mournful sound of “It’s a hard luck life” could be heard throughout the house from behind the closed door of her bedroom.
A hallmark holiday it was not. However, it was a true mother’s day.