Mother’s Day is right around the corner and Father’s Day is next month! Many parents would love to celebrate by doing nothing, by not having to take care of anyone, to sleep in and have time for themselves, to take the opportunity to recharge.
For a lot of us it’s a day when our children, our significant others, friends and family shower social media with praises, pack restaurants and leave flower shops with only petals on the floor. The relatives who forgot to check the calendar make a frantic rush to the bakeries and card shops, where specialty decorated cakes are gone and only blank greeting cards remain.
Speaking from personal experience, there is nothing more fun than rushing around with a sibling trying to find a last-minute gift for your mother. The first year my older sister was able to drive, we forgot about Mother’s Day and had to get creative between church and dinner. We grabbed “Thinking of You Cards” because the Mother’s Day cards were gone. The bakery had only one birthday cake on the shelf. We bought it, scraped off the “Birth” and presented our mother with a “Happy day” cake. Our family has been celebrating Mother’s Day with “Happy day” cakes for 25 years!
No matter how the day is celebrated, most of us simply want to be appreciated for what we do for our families.
When I became a parent, my feelings about the holidays changed. So much importance was placed on Mother’s Day, it was easy to be disappointed by watered-down mimosas, burnt pancakes and forced activities. The Boy, my son, joined the school choir and sang at every holiday. On Mother’s Day, the children gave flowers to all the women in church. It was always a sweet experience, but staying home would have been even more delightful.
The Boy will not be bringing home any more elementary school crafts made especially for me. There will be no more crooked vases, handprint flowers and popsicle picture frames holding his forced toothless smile. I treasure these little gifts, especially now that The Boy has peach fuzz on his upper lip. He does not have much to say anymore, he grunts, rolls his eyes and leaves my refrigerator empty but the sink full of dishes. The Boy glares down at me with annoyance instead looking up with wonder when I speak.
The majority of my time with The Boy is spent in the car rushing from activity to activity. He usually stares at his phone, plays video games or is focused on spending time with his friends. The other day he stopped in his tracks while we passed each other in the kitchen, gave me a firm love tap on my arm, and said “Thanks, Bud! Dinner was good.” Then he started cleaning the kitchen without being asked. That moment was truly precious because we had spent days in silence after a heated conversation earlier in the week. That “Thanks, Bud” was more than a thank you. It was an acknowledgment that he heard what I was trying to convey in our conversation. This may be the closest thing I’ll get to a Mother’s Day gift this year!
As parents, we so often feel overlooked and taken for granted by our families. There is no guarantee that our children will say “thank you for dinner” or that we will feel appreciated for our efforts. So, instead of putting so much importance on Mother’s or Father’s Day, let’s celebrate and enjoy those little, spontaneous moments with our children. On these two special days for parents, let’s just focus on having a “Happy day” without stress, without pressure and without any expectations.