Mother's Day was kind of weird.
I'm only allowing myself to say it on the blog, because I deeply appreciate the people who took the time to wish me a happy "first mother's day" and I wouldn't risk making them feel bad for any reason. Among the many people who find Mother's Day difficult, I include my step-MIL, whose adult son was killed in a car crash three years ago, and my MIL, who as a child lost both of her parents in a car accident. (Drive safely everyone.) If they have the courage to celebrate, or at least acknowledge Mother's Day, and ask to be acknowledged, well I must find the courage to do it.
My own mother and I are casual about Mother's Day. We didn't celebrate it when I was a child, but as an adult I would usually give her a card and a small gift. Since she retired she's usually out of town on that day, however, so I would just wish her a happy day before she left. We never made much out of holidays in my family and we spend time together outside of holidays. And of course going through the experiences associated with infertility in recent years, I became even more ambivalent about Mother's Day.
I forgot all about Mother's Day this year until a couple of weeks ago, when I was reminded by all the incessant advertising. The message of the ads is: "If you don't DO SOMETHING (i.e. buy X product) for your mom YOU DON'T REALLY LOVE HER AND SHE WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU." I hate that message. I don't want AJ guilt-tripped into buying or doing things for me in the future. OK, as her mom I may give her a guilt trip sometimes but that doesn't mean I want everybody else lending a hand too! It seems to me that there's a push in our society to reduce every experience and emotion into a product or image that can be bought and sold. We can't possibly have a joyful or uplifting moment without some sort of commercial exchange taking place first.
Yesterday my step-MIL hosted brunch at her house and we had delicious food and exchanged cards. My mom gave me flowers. I gave my mom and step-MIL cookies (baked in a macaron class the day before!). Being together with family and extended family is a privilege. I wouldn't have it any other way. But I like getting together even better without the "Mother's Day" baggage. I was relieved when the cards were put away and all the obvious things had been said and we could just have a normal Sunday.