Thursday, 17 May 2012

More than Just Homemade Cards and Breakfast in Bed

I have struggled with a post about Mother's Day all week.  I don't know why.  The day was wonderful: homemade cards, Indigo gift cards, breakfast in bed, and a BBQ with my family.  And yet I still struggled.  I had so many thoughts running through my head that I found it hard to put them all together and wrap them up in a nice, neat package, where, in the end, we are all left inspired and enlightened by some small truth I have uncovered.  

So, shall we see if I can do it again?

Because, in all honesty, I don't know if I can . . .

I was a little leery of this year's Mother's Day.  First of all, Mr. Level-Headed was in a course all weekend in Moncton, which meant I would be doing the "get-the-kids-up-and-ready-for-church" routine all by myself.  Secondly, the weekend was absolutely chaotic and my house bore the brunt of my neglect and would have to be straightened up before our guests came over at 6pm. And most of all, I worried that our Guest-of-Honour (my mom) would be unable to attend.  My mom has been struggling with a severe bout of depression for the past 18 months and holidays are particularly difficult on her.

When my eyes popped open on Sunday morning, I really wasn't expecting much.  As I came to, I heard a distinct pounding sound in the kitchen.  At first, I didn't recognise it, but it did not take me long to recall that familiar sound: the making of frozen juice.  And then it dawned on me.  I heard the squeals of laughter and the demanding voice of an older sibling in charge, and I smiled.  My babies were making me breakfast!  They got themselves up early and made breakfast all on their own.  I was so impressed!  As I laid in bed and ate my scrumptious breakfast, the kids took turns reading their cards to me, and I daydreamed about all the books I could buy with the Indigo gift cards they gave me.  It was heavenly!!

But then it was over.

I had to get the kids moving.  They needed showers, ironed Church clothes, and "positive reinforcements" to  put a smile on their face and to behave in church.

At a particularly frustrating moment, when I was about to cave under the pressure of my kids and declare it a "day off", I found my card from Mr. Level-Headed.  It was simple and sweet. 

On the last line, he apologised for not being there this morning and for not being able to do more to help out.  After reading his note, I mustered up some determination and unleashed my inner "tiger mom".  ROAR!!

Quit  your whining kids and let's get moving!  This is going to be a good day, and you are guys are going to help me.

After church, the munchkins needed to be fed, a cake had to be made, and our home needed to be put back in order.  

Then my mom called.  She was having a rough day, but after some kind words of encouragement, she managed to find the resolve she needed to come over and enjoy the evening with her family.

We ate, we laughed, and we discussed American politics (my mom has a mild addiction to CNN).  And then it was over.  It was exhausting, but it was a huge success!

As I curled up in bed that night, with my hubby snoring softly beside me, I tossed and turned.  I couldn't sleep.  Thoughts on Mother's Day and images of mothers ran through my head.  

What is Mother's Day?

Is it simply a consumer-driven holiday?

The world tells us it is a day, where moms should be pampered and relieved from their cares.  The week leading up to Mother's day is filled with advertisements offering reduced spa packages, get-away trips, and expensive jewellery to show Mom just how much we care.

I didn't get any of these.  It wasn't even a day off.  Does this mean I am not appreciated and loved?

Then my thoughts turned to my friends.  One, who is a single mom and had spent the afternoon working to support her little family.  Another, spent the afternoon in the hospital with her young son, who has Cerebral Palsy and who took a serious seizure at Church that morning.  Another, who spent the day at the bedside of her dying husband, and yet another, whose husband works far away, and who, like every other day, had to take care of her four kids on her own.  

Did they get pampered on Mother's Day?  Did they get a break from their daily cares and struggles?


And then something occurred to me.  

Each of us moms, don't call ourselves "Mother" for the recognition.  We don't do this job for the accolades or the rewards.  We do it out of love.  I struggled to get my kids out the door to church because I love them and know that is where they need to be on Sunday mornings. I didn't pout or freak out at my husband for not being there on my "special day" because I love him, and I know he works hard so that I can have the blessing of staying home and raising my kids.  I cleaned my house and prepared a meal for my family because I love my Mom and wanted to surround her with family on this day. And it was out of love that each of my friends faced their Mother's Day in their unique circumstances and made the most of it.

Being a mom is work. 
 It is sacrifice. 
 It is service.  

And, no amount of time at the spa, or the wearing of expensive trinkets, or the treasuring of homemade cards can make it any easier or any more wonderful.

So, I ask you:  do we really a need a day devoted to Mother's?

As I heard one mom this week at volleyball vent that she didn't get anything for Mother's Day, and therefore, felt hurt, I struggled again with this idea.

I know this family.  They are a loving family, and I am sure that they perform small acts of appreciation for their mom throughout the year, but because it did not happen on this one particular day, does that mean it is all for naught.  Does their lack of foresight negate all that they do the rest of the year?

It seems so.

And don't even get me started on what Mother's Day must be like for all those women out there who struggle with infertility and want nothing more than a child to call their own. Or, the moms who have lost a child.  Or the women who have just recently lost their moms.  Or the women who never had a mom in their life.

(Do you see why I couldn't sleep?)

And yet, although Mother's Day may never be perfect, may always be tied to consumerist ideals, may never, ever be a day off for those women privileged enough to be called Mom, and may, actually, be painful for so many, we need to observe it.  We have all been influenced by a woman at one point in time in our life.  It may not have been our "mom", but I am confident in saying that EVERY life here on earth has been touched in a positive way by some woman.  And we need to take a moment out of our hectic lives, grab some construction paper and crayons, and let those women, who have sacrificed so much to comfort us, protect us, nurture us, inspire us, teach us, encourage us, and love us, know that we love her too.  

Because, in all honesty, that is all she is working for:


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