Simon and I tend to be pretty casual about the minor holidays (basically everything besides Christmas, for which I usually manage to get sufficiently and acceptably worked up that most of the people who deserve gifts get them in a somewhat timely manner), but for occasions like Valentine’s Day or anniversaries (ahem) and even birthdays, we’re kind of hit and miss and for the most part okay with that. I mean, SO HELP HIM GOD if I don’t get at least a handmade card from my child on Mother’s Day, but otherwise, eh, I like presents as much as the next person, but you win some, you lose some, and it’s best not to get too worked up about the whole thing because it doesn’t actually matter if there’s love at home every day of the year, blah-di-blah, Kumbaya, etc.
Instead of sleeping in yesterday, I lay awake in bed listening to the sound of Simon directing the early-morning card crafting (“What color do you think she would like?” “MOM DOESN’T HAVE A FAVORITE COLOR SHE LIKES ALL THE COLORS LET ME DO IT MYSAAAAALF”) and was obviously unable to go to back to sleep once I had (a) seen the masterpiece that was the self-portrait by my son, who only ever draws in scribbles and (b) smelled sausage, egg, and cheese muffins being prepared in my honor. There was supposed to be bacon too (sausage AND bacon! what artery-clogging decadence is this?) but we had accidentally eaten it all for dinner the night before, having newly dubbed the delicacy “Wilbur strips” and then succumbed to our glassy-eyed hunger for Some Pig.
We didn’t really have plans for the day beyond Simon disappearing for a few hours to sit for a photo shoot for his new band, so the day was pretty slow and low-key. My one demand was that I be allowed to shower (no one objected–let us not wonder why), and my one request was that we go out to eat somewhere I could consume a sizeable quantity of vegetables (it had been a bad week for bread and pasta and cheese in our house), and three hours later–after strolling a street fair we happened upon by accident–I kinda sorta got my wish in the form of the two slices of tomatoes atop my tremendous mushroom cheeseburger of carby deliciousness, that is, if you don’t bother with the minor detail of of tomatoes being fruits. The important thing is that I ate and the wait staff was handing out carnations to all the mothers on the premises, and I was calm and peaceful and happy out and about with my two boys and no looming deadlines and it was heavenly to just BE.
Official Mother’s Day portrait, 2012, waiting in the car while Dad gets catfood at Safeway.
I totally get it when women choose spend Mother’s Day on a solo shopping trip or an afternoon at the spa, but I’m pleased (for myself, with no judgment of anyone else) that I am, at least for now, the kind of mother who prefers to spend this annual Celebration of Motherhood actually mothering. Well…spending time with her kid, at least; I did totally cop out on some motherly responsibilities because it was My Special Day and, no, I don’t want to come see your giant poop before you bid it farewell down the plumbing river, perhaps another day, dear one. I’ve said before that I’m really good at doing what I want to do–that there are no worries here that my personhood will get lost in my motherhood–and although that brand of self-care is what all the magazines tell us we should strive for, it’s kind of a double-edged sword to have the message be so prevalent that whenever I hear it it’s hard to not think, Hey, so, I guess I’m supposed to have a harder time putting myself first every so often? Weird!
Photos from last month’s trip to the Bay Area Discovery Museum, which is AWESOME.
All of which is to say that this year I spent a good portion of Mother’s Day sitting on the floor playing with Wombat and Maisy (it’s not my favorite), and last year we went to the zoo (I don’t really like the zoo all that much), and although on an ordinary Sunday I might have stolen a few hours to take care of Practical, Non-Wombat Things (a.k.a. nestiiiiiiiing), I’m glad that at least on this point, on this day, on this year (and last) I felt like a “natural” mother (whatever that means), because lord knows that every other day on the calendar I will grumble and gripe my way through a dozen other parenthood tasks that it seems a lot of other mothers take in stride. (And I guess that’s what I mean by “natural”: She who considers it a pleasure and a privilege to wipe her child’s nose for the fortieth time that day even when said child is three years old and has full awareness of his boogers and a snot rag in his pocket and use of both of hands. Or she who doesn’t worry about getting blood on her shirt when her son smashes his face [because he tripped on the pink dress she put him in].)
Anyhoo, I had a wonderful Mother’s Day doing mostly nothing of consequence and enjoying the heck out of it. When I tucked Wombat into bed that night (after he screamed “HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY” in my ear one last time for good measure), I thanked him for making me a mom. He looked puzzled, so I filled him in on the not-small fact that before he lived with us, I wasn’t a mom at all. “But what were you, then?” he asked. “Just a lady,” was my best answer. “And then you were born and I became a mom!”
I don’t tend to describe myself as a mother first and everything else after, but to that little boy (and the one on the way), I do hope it feels that way to them for a good number of years: “My mom is my mom and…a bunch of other stuff.” If Wombat sees me as his mother first and a person second, heck, that sounds pretty right on the money to me.