Tomorrow will be the first Mothers Day since 1981 I’ve had no mother to call. I don’t have to worry about finding a florist who can deliver on Sunday. And, since my boy is grown and far away, I don’t have to worry about whether to wear the necklace he made me out of rigatoni when he was three years old.
I still have it, of course. I just don’t like to wear it because 1) it might get wet and disintegrate, 2) it doesn’t coordinate well with other elements in my wardrobe, and 3) it’s made out of rigatoni.
Of course, I miss having my son with me. I miss my mothers even more. After all, I can still talk to the boy on the phone, or IM, or Facebook. I talk to the Moms only in my dreams.
But here’s the dirty little secret about Mothers Day: We don’t deserve it. Everything you hear about the sacrifices mothers make for their children? It’s lies. All lies.
I mean, sure, we make sacrifices, if by “sacrifice,” you mean “choices.” Look at this blurry photograph. There I am, the person who loves to swim laps more than (almost) any other form of physical exertion. However, instead of enjoying the Zen-like experience of trying to count while doing the back-stroke, I’m playing with someone who is not even two years old. Who do you think is having more fun? Here’s a hint: It’s not the person who is topless.
When my son was a child, I chose to leave work at five so I could pick him up from his after-school program and we could walk home together. This meant that my bosses at work may have thought I was less-than-serious about my career, and adjusted my opportunities for promotion accordingly. But, when I had to choose between more money and talking to a third-grader about his day, I didn’t think twice. Have you tried to get a price on a kid’s conversation? They can’t be bought.
Then there’s all the worrying. From the first time your child sleeps in his/her own room, you worry about what’s happening when you’re not watching. Every step of development just adds new layers. Going to school. Walking to school alone. Taking the subway. Taking an airplane to see Grandpa. Going to college. Driving a car. You really don’t know how much there is to worry about until you have a kid. It’s nerve-wracking, but it’s also wonderful. There aren’t that many people in my life whom I love enough to worry about. No worries would leave a big, empty space in my heart.
If you are lucky enough to have your mother in your life, and you haven’t yet bought her a gift, don’t sweat it. She doesn’t want the flowers or the perfume or the bathrobe. She wants you.
Media Goddess Martha Thomases still appreciates all forms of tribute for any occasion.