For The Boys

Mother’s Day is Sunday.  When my mom was alive, this was a day feted like few others.  Dad would have it no other way, for he knew how much it meant to her.  We’d stand by her bedroom door waiting for her to come out, give her a cape made out of a sheet, a scepter (which in actuality was one of our batons) – even the dog had a ‘Happy Mother’s Day‘ sign around his neck.  Coffee first – always.  Then gifts and cards (she felt cards were a critical component of the whole thing).  In retrospect, we took the Hallmark holiday to almost ridiculous levels.  As teenagers, Deb  and I would roll our eyes at the theatrics involved – Dad reminding us repeatedly to make sure that she not be disappointed by any failure of our memories, the Queen for a Day spectacle expanding in scope as we got older.  As dad’s health began to fail, we just celebrated her as much as we could – though nothing really compensated for what she was losing.

I come at this though from a different place.  Boys perhaps are different – more muted in their expressions, though arguably more consistent.  And this is really about them.  Whether they read this or not is moot; it is for them in absentia.

If it wasn’t for the boys, I wouldn’t be one of those women for whom Mother’s Day is intended.  My boys.  Really, the appreciation should be directed their way.  They are not perfect; I have no illusions.  They are however the perfect sons for me.  They each came equipped with unique characteristics that amaze, delight, occasionally frustrate and always, always reinforce my wonder that I got so lucky.  So blessed.  I wish I could still hold them in my lap, yet I also love hearing their expanding world views.  I can touch their heads and remember them nestled in the crook of my neck, and then blink and re-focus on a conversation about work, current events, the Stanley Cup.  I crave them – I aways have.  And though I knew from the time I was able to toddle that I wanted to be a mom, I never knew I would be a  mom to men who I like as much as I adore.   Their love is nutritious – even though I’m  not sure what the RDA is.   All I know is that when I’m with them, I am the better part of me.  I look at them with occasional disbelief – these men, as boys were mine.  These men allowed me to be a mom.  And as convoluted as it may sound,  Mother’s Day celebrates them.  They are my greatest treasures, my heart, my soul.  They are my history and I am watching them travel into their futures.  And to take a line from my dad, “more loved [they] cannot be”.  Thank you for being the sons I always wanted, and becoming the remarkable men that you are.

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I Am SO Hating Hallmark

Each year I swear this  isn’t going to happen…as the days tick down I steel myself.   At this point my emotional armor is ostensibly secure and unyielding.  I am prepared for battle and I will emerge victorious.  Hallmark – you’re going down.

And I see the commercial where all these ‘moms’ (in quotes for I don’t really know if they are moms) look into the camera and implore their kids to ‘just’ – “just tell me you’re proud of me”, “just tell me I’m doing this right”, “just tell me you love me”, “just tell me I matter to you”…and I dissolve into a weeping fool.  My steely protection melts, my waterproof mascara fails miserably (note to cosmetic companies – I would be a good tester for your waterproof eye makeup) and as I gulp, I curse the fact that yet again they got me.  Dammit.

I’m great in a crisis – if you need someone stoic, calm and focused, call me.  Give me a love story, a happy ending – no matter how predictable, expressions of affection and/or appreciation and I’m an embarrassment.  Although I realize this dates me,  I cried during the last five minutes of “The Trouble With Angels” when Hayley Mills decided to become a nun.  Let’s not even talk about “The Parent Trap”, “Dumbo”…

The Trouble with Angels (film)

The Trouble with Angels (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are other commercials airing here that press my emotional buttons too,  but Hallmark represents all of those advertisers that are thriving by making saps like me cry.  Shame on you.  I’m a mom – I don’t think you’re supposed to reduce me to tears and have me feel stupid for doing so simultaneously.  I don’t begrudge any holiday – prepackaged or otherwise – which encourages people to acknowledge their love for one another.  I’ve really been blessed with the relationships I have with my sons – and we have always been generously affectionate and articulate about our feelings for each other.  I’m completely crazy about them,  proud of the men they are, enthralled by their stories and thankful that they still want to share them with me.  I love the women they have chosen to share their journeys and relish the time I have with them too.

And if I’m going to cry thinking about Mother’s Day, that’s what I’d like to cry about.  This indescribable love that grabs me by the throat, the sensory memories I have of my babies after bath time, their giggles before their voices changed and their dirty jokes after their voices changed, their delight when they eclipsed me in height,  little hands hugging my neck, singing to them at night and sloppy kisses that would leave my cheeks smudged and wet…

There are thousands upon thousands of moments in a lifetime that I would rather cry over and a Hallmark commercial isn’t one of them.  Yet I have not figured out a way to steel myself from the trite advertisements for love, which in and of themselves somehow minimize what is in my heart.  So until we get past Sunday, I think I’ll leave the tv off, avoid the card store and just look forward to seeing the kids over the weekend.