Our Story Begins:
A Mother’s Day Conundrum
Today is a day that’s impossible to ignore.
Oh, believe me, it’s not that I haven’t tried. Today will now officially be five Mother’s Day holidays I’ve tried to let wash over my back like so much water from a faucet. Unfortunately, I realized it the hard way.
You cannot ignore Mother’s Day.
Why, you might ask, would you even want to ignore such an amazing day? Why, you might ask, would anyone be so callous as to ignore the day that honors the women who gave us life? The women who gave us our upbringings?
I tried because it was just too hard. Not just too hard for me. Mother’s day – I have to be honest – was like any other Sunday. I woke up, made the kids breakfast, did laundry, cleaned the house, it was the same day as any other day.
I tried to ignore it because I thought it might be best for my kids. Four years ago my wife, Andrea, the kids’ mother, passed away. It was March 26th…and this will now be the 5th Mother’s Day they will have experienced. The first one they had both their grandmas here so it wasn’t out of the ordinary to celebrate it for them.
But move to Mother’s Day number two. The kids’ school had a “Mother’s Day Tea”, something nearly every elementary school has. Yet if “mother can’t attend” you were relegated to another room, singled out as either the kid whose mom (gasp!) worked or for my kids . . . reminded that she’s gone and never coming back.
Number 3 . . . we went out for lunch. Nothing fancy, Red Robin (yummm!). The day was reminded when the waitress walked up to my oldest daughter and said “happy mother’s day to you” and implied in no uncertain terms that she was my wife with our three kids. Awkward fails as an adjective.
One year my daughter gave me a card reading “Happy Mother’s Day Dad!”
What can you do? The world is wired for Mom. The normal situation is you have a Mom. The stereotype is Dad is the defunct parent and Mom is there. It’s the oddball situation where that isn’t the case.
Harder still, at least for me, is when people say – to me or my kids – that “your Mom would be proud of you,” or “I bet you’re right where your Mom would have expected you to be.”
They’re not. We’re not.
My daughter is going into a career her mother vehemently argued against. It was the cause of a lot of arguments, between her daughter and her and between the two of us. My sons are not the young men she expected. Very little that happens today is the life their mother expected for them.
And that’s okay.
It really is.
My daughter is happier than I’ve seen her in years – including the years when her mother was here. My sons are successful in school and have become such great young men. My other daughter is a musician – which would have made her mom’s blood curdle. Her husband is planning to go into the studio and record a record – something she would have fought tooth and nail.
But her fingerprints are there. Success isn’t a measure of my parentage. My kids’ success is the platform their lives was placed upon and she helped me build it. When I see their mother in them, I tell them. She deserves that, so do the kids.
We can’t ignore this day. I have a mother – their grandmother. Their aunts are mothers. Nothing about the day is bad. I know, firsthand, what mothering and fathering are now. I had to learn really quickly.
Mom is always with my kids, whether they realize it or not. They didn’t need today to remind them. They know what she gave them…and know what’s missing every single day.
So if you’ll pardon us, today, we’ll skip the Mother’s Day tea or brunch…and we’re going to watch The Avengers. Just because…that’s what we will do today.
Happy mother’s day to all of you . . . one day is the least your kids can give you.