Friday, May 8, 2009

Another Hallmark Holiday

Mother's day is a mixed blessing. I have one of the top mom's in the world. And she had an extraordinary mom herself. My wife's mom struggled in a really crappy situation to do the right thing. My wife loved her. I loved her. She's gone. My wife struggles. She's not Mrs. Cleaver, or Mrs. Brady. She's herself. And she carries with her the history she has. She's not a bad mom. Well, yea, she is a bad mom. At times. I think its fair to say all mom's have ups and downs. She tries. But I think the fact that she is so closed to input makes it a bit harder to excuse. She doesn't understand our son. She doesn't get guys. She's really hard on him. She's not good at dealing with fact that my daughter is trying to be just like him, in a lot of ways. My daughter has a lot of guy behaviours. She sees her big brother as a role model, as competition. She is a strong strong little girl. She will do really well in life. She is full of confidence. And defiance. My wife doesn't do defiance well. That's not how she was brought up. Defiance usually let to something being thrown at you. Or a lot of yelling. It left a mark. Its like a dog that's been beaten. All sounds startle them. Everything can be perceived as a threat. Attacking is always the first option when running away is impossible. That's kind of how my wife handles the kids. It can be a struggle for everyone. I know I have to support her. It is not right for the kids to think that it is the three of us against her. But I can't let the kids think they're on their own. We find that space where its tolerable. Over time I'm running out of responses when one of the kids comes up to me as I walk in after work and tells me that mom is in a terrible mood. Or that she's mad at everyone. Its not every day, its not every week. But it happens far more often than it should. And it takes longer and longer for the kids to recover. We try to honor her on Mother's day. We do honor her on Mother's day. She really is a good person. She just has this blind spot.

This year I bought books for the kids to give her on Mother's day. Books about mothers and daughters, and mothers and sons. I got her a book about mothers. A picture book. On Mother's day my family is gathering here at my mom's house for brunch. My wife made an appointment to go to a spa. She said it wasn't that she didn't like my mom, but she wanted to do something for herself. My mom understand. I understand. But I suspect we understand different things. Mother's day is always hard. Sometimes I wish we could do away with these holidays.


  1. Hugs for all of you. As a mom of, more or less, grown kids I have no plans for Sunday...and I'm looking forward to it. don't get me wrong, I liked breakfast in bed too.

    There is no such thing as "maternal instinct". It's a learned response - some don't.

    More hugs all around.

  2. I'm not sure how I feel about the "special" mother's day. I bet my kids forget it, in spite of me being there for them the past days/weeks. Oh, well.....