The Hallmark Holiday of Mother’s Day is fast approaching. The advertisements for flowers and candy, and brunches and jewelry, are popping up more quickly than the weeds in my yard. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against honoring motherhood, sisterhood, and female nurturing. It’s all good. But I have long maintained that it works best for the mothers of adult children (preferably child-free) who are in the position to do things for their mom that their mom might actually want and in this way show appreciation for everything their mother has done over the years — the kind of appreciation you usually only understand after you’ve grown up. Before my kids came, and back when I had disposable income (sigh), I used to take my Mom to a fancy brunch in the city. It was nice.
At the other end of the spectrum of motherhood, mothers of babies and small kids usually love the home- and school-made cards and trinkets and hand prints of the little ones. I know I did. These new moms usually also hope their husband or significant other will give them “a day off” of mothering. A little ironic. Moms of intact families often want to hear this from their men:
“I’ll take the kids, I got this. You do nothing, I mean NOTHING — no cleaning, no meals, no laundry. We will bring you food.“
That’s a beautiful thing, if someone can do that for a mom. Of course, those newer mothers, if they are lucky enough to still have their mother alive and close by, have to go to the mother thing for her, so it is not a day to stay in bed all day watching trash TV and surfing the net.
Single mothers of course, have a whole different thing going on. They might have to haggle to even see their own children on Mother’s Day, depending on the calendar, the court order and the relationship with the Ex. And, unless the kids are grown, any celebration must be engineered, paid for, and cleaned up after — by her. A single mom might want a day off, too, but having the kids celebrate Mother’s Day elsewhere . . . well, that’s not quite right, either. And like the married mom, if the single mom has a mother, she has to do for her, too. Conclusion? Different situations call for different celebrations.
But let me take you back to a time when I had a husband and either one or three babies. Can’t remember. I think just one, but it wasn’t my first Mother’s Day. My then husband (kinda like the sound of that . . . but I digress) went out and got me a card. Kids weren’t old enough to do it on their own. It was nice of him. He didn’t always know how to do things like this. He was brought up without a father so he had no role model in the home for how a husband should treat the mother of his children. I don’t give him a pass because of this, it’s just a fact. It’s a fact easily remedied by reading, looking at TV, or copying what he sees good husbands do. It’s not that hard.
Another fact? Attention to detail was never his strong suit.
Like I said, different situations, different celebrations . . . even different cards.
Clearly my husband shopped in the wrong section of the Hallmark Cards display.
He got me a card that said,
“Happy Mother’s Day!
Our family is so much better . . . now that you’re in it.”
Yep, that’s right folks, he got his wife, the mother of his children, a card for a Stepmother.
Alrighty then. I mean, damn, I think I was still nursing somebody at the time . . . and I got a Stepmother’s Mother’s Day Card. And no, he didn’t accidentally mix up the card he bought for his own stepmother. He had no stepmother.
He bought that card for me.
I read it. I read it again. I read it TO him. He gave me one of those embarrassed laughs and apologized, but not profusely. I kept that card for a time, but of course, did not display it. I just couldn’t believe it. I mean, damn. I was a new mom, and it kinda hurt. I do give him credit for getting me a card. I know there are some guys who don’t do that for their wives. I probably would have been mad if he’d done nothing. But there are plenty of men who do the right thing — with precision. So many things would have been better. Flowers, a single flower, even those nasty flowers that are sold on the highway — would have been better. No words, no careless mistakes.
He took the time to get me a card.
Didn’t take the time to read it, though.
It was long ago . . . but it still smarts a little bit.
Just Me With . . . The Worst Mother’s Day Card . . . Ever.
Postscript: I thought this was the most insensitive thing he could have done on Mother’s Day. I was wrong. See “How I Found Out That My Ex-Husband Was Getting Married”