It was mother’s day yesterday. A holiday I love to hate. I despise the idea that there is a “holiday” to reward me for doing the thing that comes most naturally for me – loving and caring for my child. And although most mothers are quite content to sit around basking in the glory of “their day”, I am not. Do not get me wrong, mother’s of the world, I think it is a very wise and noble profession. A profession that no one gets into for the perks of a few small gifts and a relaxing Sunday once a year. I see nothing wrong with allowing oneself the benefit of a relaxing Sunday to bask in the glory your family gives you.
It’s just not for me.
I think part of my disdain for this yearly event stems from earlier incidents and comments received from those who presume their words come as a compliment when they really slice like a thousand knives. Ever since Mia’s diagnosis I have been uncomfortable with the outsider’s praises of my abilities. And most mothers’ days they are heaped upon me in droves. Most mothers’ days I shelter myself inside from the storm and wait it out, but the backlash can last for days.
It wasn’t long after Mia’s diagnosis that people started making the comments that turned me off to the idea of a national day of motherly praise. The comments weren’t solely made on mother’s day, but as I said they were repeated tenfold. “You’re a great mom. I don’t know how you do it!” “You’re an inspiration. I wouldn’t be able to handle it.” The “it” in the latter sentence refers to my daughter. I’ve even had mother’s tell me in so many words that their grateful to me because in looking at my “situation” they realized to count their blessings. And they say all these things with a smile on their face and a look of goodwill in their eyes – as if these words come packaged with love and are received as such.
But they are not. These people, these women, most mothers themselves, they can’t understand how I do not view my child as a burden. They don’t get that I do not view my life with her as an unfortunate mistake. They can’t comprehend why I don’t seek out a “cure” from science or drop to my knees seeking out a spiritual resolution for my daughter’s “problem”. They think my view of my child is warped by a mother’s love and I think their view is wrong based on the truths my daughter has taught me. We will never agree.
But every mothers’ day, including the last, no matter how hard I have tried to eradicate these people from my life, they are back with their cold words meant to warm me. They are back sending sentiments of “love” that would be better suited for a funeral. They are back to making a mockery of my life and my child. And this is why I do not enjoy mother’s day. No matter how hard I have tried to forget these words it is impossible. No matter how hard I try to convince myself of their good intentions it is impossible. No matter how hard I try to tell myself that one day they will get it, I believe, this too may be impossible.
This isn’t to say I don’t adore of the handmade cards and trinkets my daughter brings home from school; or understand my worth as her mother. To the contrary I do. The thoughtful and generous words of the knowing few close to me also come as a comfort. Their thoughtful words as well as my daughter’s truths and trinkets of love are a ready balm to my bruised and battered soul. And for that I am grateful, for they make this day I love to hate a bit more bearable.