I hate Mother’s Day and I always have. My own mother is a nightmare of a woman with whom I have no relationship with. I spent the first 40 years of my life trying to deny the fact that she didn’t love me until the death of my beloved step-father and the subsequent events involving her and my sister that made me realize – once and for all – that I was wasting my time, my energy and my own love on a woman who never did – and never would – love me.
This morning I woke up and felt that old, familiar pain. Everyone I know is on social media with adorable photos of their Moms or their children or both; talking about how much love they are feeling and receiving today.
I cannot relate to either of these feelings. In fact, I wanted to say I couldn’t relate to either of these notions – as if they aren’t even real. This is the painful part, because it isn’t a notion. I just cannot relate because I have never known either side of their maternal relationships.
Each year, I cry and spend the entire day with a lump in my throat – thinking about when I was a sweet little girl who loved her Mamma so damn hard. I adored that woman and if she told me that there was a pot of gold on the side of any mountain or shabby apartment we might have lived in – I always believed her. I loved her.
Waking up this morning was different, though. I still woke up with the lump in my throat, ready to cry at any moment but my life is different now. I have been living with my boyfriend and his two children for over a year. They are my step-kids and I love them. Most of the time. Ok, fine. I love them all of the time but Jesus H. they can test my patience some days.
I knew that today they would be spending the day with their mother. Yesterday they spent the afternoon shopping for Mother’s Day gifts for her and in last couple of weeks, even I have reminded them that they should get her something for Mother’s Day. What I didn’t know is how much I would wake up hurting and resenting her for it.
Let me provide you a short backstory of her relationship with them, in order to give you some perspective on the situation. When I met Him, she was completely out of the picture. Months went by without the children even hearing from her. Last year on Mother’s Day, she was “too tired” to have breakfast with them so they celebrated Mother’s Day a week later.
In the last nine months or so, she has been getting herself pulled together and spending more time with them. Great, right? Yeah, except that I am still the one who feeds them every day, talks to them when they are upset, gets them out of bed so they get to school on time, orthodontist appointments, Boy Scouts, Baseball games, Baseball practice, and a myriad of other things that a Mom is supposed to do. So far the only contribution she has made since coming around again is to spend too much money on them, spoiling them with gifts, trips and entertainment. She is not here for anything important and hasn’t been for a long time – much longer than even before I came along.
She wasn’t here when The Boy went missing overnight. She wasn’t here when The Girl woke me up with a vague text message that signaled she was in serious trouble. In fact, the last six years, she hasn’t even been here for back to school shopping or their monumental moments like entering Junior High and High School. Before I entered the picture He had to do it all alone.
So here’s a question I need to answer for myself; so what? Her performance has nothing to do with me. But it echoes my own experience with my Mother and it triggers me to a painful place. It is up to me make my own experience with this family and enjoy it – warts and all.
But once I am done with the Pop Psych 101 bullshit, I am still a woman who works damn hard for these kids and I love them. I have taken on this role but I can feel pissy and unappreciated too. FYI: don’t bother judging me for it, because I’m doing a fine job of that myself.
Tomorrow Mother’s Day will be over and everything will return to normal. Morning will come and the kids will need to be removed from their beds by a giant crowbar. He and I will have coffee and chat about the week ahead before leaving for work. He will kiss me goodbye and flash me his signature sweet but wicked smile and I will go to work with a smile of my own.
I am home.