On Family – LeadingPossibilities Magazine: “I had a cruddy Mother’s Day this year. It started as a plan for a beautiful day to be spent with my son and my mom – a joint celebration of our three generations …
We were to spend a few hours visiting the fab forties neighborhood of Sacramento, viewing the most elegant gardens of this oh-so-exclusive neighborhood. This tour would be followed by lunch at my son’s favorite Chinese restaurant (if the kid is happy, Mother’s Day can only be wonderful, right?).
Well, as my first Mother’s Day as a single mom began to unfold, it became crystal clear that this holiday has taken on a new shape, pretty much unrecognizable to me. Daddy isn’t there to prompt the child/children to pay mommy her proper respect. He no longer orchestrates breakfast in bed and lovely surprises sprinkled through mommy’s day to make her feel especially pampered, like the princess she is for all she does. No, my son was hot and cranky and had no one to remind him that it wasn’t his day to be the center of the universe. The gardens were average at best, and crowded, and eluded even his true love of botany. My eleven-year-old’s behavior downgraded to that of a four-year-old, stomping, huffing, clearly incensed. We stopped the tour after the fourth disappointing garden, never to know what surprises the next six held.
Blessedly, lunch was a hit – grandma, mom and child enjoyed a quiet, urban-chic, Chinese lunch, along with a chance to smooth ruffled feathers, hurt feelings and disappointments. Grandma was a trooper, she kept the conversation light, upbeat. On the drive home, my son had a meltdown that he didn’t have time left for a play date. Silly me, trying to compensate for all the lack in his life, phoned two of his friends, only to find they were busy honoring their moms on this Mother’s Day, and were too busy to play.
By evening, I was a crabby, cranky mommy, feeling cheated, abused and unappreciated. My son was completely out of sorts. I decided to let him know that I was saddened over his inability to put his needs aside for even a very short time, to help me celebrate my mom’s and my special day. His ashamed feelings and apologies initiated a deep conversation around lessons in respect, in valuing others’ time, others’ concerns, and I think it was a moment of healing through understanding of a painful reality. His ability to embrace that while his behavior was less than phenomenal, I still love him truly and steadfastly, was a lesson that I hope will spill into areas across his life, and bolt him up when he feels criticized or “less than.” This bumpy day morphed into a more mature way of connecting, sharing and teaching that I look forward to continuing as he becomes a teenager, then an adult. And isn’t that the biggest role we play as moms – empathetic teachers?
The cliché is true – being a mom is just plain hard. Single or married, it is the most profound, most painful, yet rewarding job imaginable. We hold these little hearts and minds for a short but critical period of our children’s lives. And this year I learned that Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate the impact we have on each other, whatever shape that takes, along with the gift of unconditional love that we moms feel oh-so-intensely. And as a single mom, Father’s Day will be my day of peace, quiet and reflection!
Have you had a Mother’s Day that totally sucked? What was the divine lesson that you learned as a result? Did you plan to do something different next year? We’d love to hear from you!
Article by Lori Anderson.