May 6, 2012

Joy's Junque - What exactly is a perfect Mother’s Day?

One of my daughters texted me the other day asking “what’s up for Mother’s Day?” Really? After 30 plus years of providing financial planning, time management, color coding, taxi, cleaning, game buddy, shoulder crying, first year orchestra listener, cookie counting, and all other “nobody seems to be able to do this but me” services, I have to plan Mother’s Day, too?

In all fairness, I don’t make Mother’s Day easy for my kids. I’m not the type to slap on a flower and show off at a restaurant; there’s no way I’ll clean house and cook for a day to ‘honor’ me (or any other day for that matter); and quite honestly, I don’t like to get dressed on Sundays…

My mom planned a perfect Mother’s Day once, only it was on Father’s Day. She gave Dad tickets for that day’s Reds game – just enough for him and all of us kids. According to her, she got the last batch of tickets before they were sold out. That entire afternoon, we felt so bad for her, all by herself in that big quiet house…all day…alone…

If I could plan the perfect Mother’s Day, I would be sitting on the beach for a full week prior, sipping wine and talking politics with smart people. Then I would come home to a surprise wash, cut, style, wax and 90 minute massage. Which means, everything in the house washed, lawn cut, rooms styled and floors waxed. I’m serious about the massage though.

Mother’s Day is fun when kids are little. After all, the universe is aligned so that Mother’s Day falls during the school year and teachers always make sure the kids have something to take home to mom.

Who doesn’t cherish those handmade coupons, the poem that starts out: “you are the best mom I ever had,” the seedlings lovingly carried home in a Styrofoam cup, or math/artwork that spells out “MOM” but only if the letters are calculated and colored correctly. Which always brings a feeling of, oh, I don’t know, dread, when one comes home spelling out “VIN” or “MAN.” But, it’s the thought that counts, and I know we’ve used all the coupons for hugs and kisses.

Before you know it they are all grown up with no teachers to give them a project. Then they are married with another mother in the picture and soon after that, they have kids of their own and don’t want to get dressed on Sundays either.

But moms, if you pay attention, Mother’s Day can really be celebrated throughout the year - like when you realize the kids never ask what you want for Christmas, because they just know. Or when they all pull the same sweater off the rack because it ‘looks like you.” Or when they call for advice and not money. Or when you are asked to go on vacations with them because you enjoy each other’s company. Or when even the adult kids like spending a weekend at your house for some R&R. Or whenever a grandchild says “Mom says I (fill in the blank) just like you! Or when one of them shows up at midnight to catch a bat…all those little things.

The trouble with Mother’s Day is, we’ve been conditioned to think maybe our kids don’t love us if they don’t do something on Mother’s Day. And our kids have been conditioned to think they are terrible if they don’t do something on Mother’s Day.

So I say, we all stay in our jammies and ditch Mother’s Day in favor of Birthday Day, in which kids honor their mom by giving her gifts and a huge party on their own birthdays. It’s a win-win for everyone – each kid and mom – gets to share a party and a special day. And, that would give me five great gigs a year, instead of just one.

To all of you reading this, I hope you have your own perfect Mother’s Day! All year long.

P.S. Note to my kids: I’m pulling out one of those 20 year old coupons – I need one of you to put away my Christmas tree.

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