The concept of the Mother’s Day Gift is a crock of shit.
My first couple of Mother’s Days as a mother, I eagerly accepted gifts from my kids (which were really from my husband). I made sure to demurely say, while looking up, humbly, from under my lashes, “You really didn’t need to get me anything.” As the years went on, though, I couldn’t kick the pervasive, hollow feeling attached to these presents.
The flowers. The books. The spa gift certificates. They were all lovely gifts. And I know that my husband and (albeit to a much smaller degree) my children had put some thought into them.
No matter what they bought, though, or how much they spent, the hollowness grew.
This year, my 7th year as a Mom, I finally got through. I was insistent. No. Presents.
And there weren’t any.
And I was relieved.
Because here’s the thing. My husband can spend till it hurts. My kids can (eventually) save up their little allowances, buy me bigger, better, shinier shit.
It will never be enough.
No gift will ever compensate for the flesh ripping pain of delivering a couple of nearly 10 pound babies. Or the feeling of hysteria and manic depression brought on by 30 plus consecutive hours without sleep. The numbing loneliness of realizing that, ultimately, this whole shebang rests on your shoulders. The nauseating worry that a bump on the head will result in eventual brain damage. The guilt for not watching closer as the kid climbed at the playground, thus acquiring that bump. The gut searing howls of a scared child dropped off at daycamp. The look of betrayal on a little girl’s face when her “friends” exclude her, and the knowledge that you can’t possibly make it better. The sleep-robbing fear of drugs and guns and street gangs and school shootings and nuclear war. Years 13-18. The sudden, whiplash inducing stop when those kids leave, and even if they do call and talk and maintain a close relationship, ultimately, they’re gone.
No gift can ever truly thank me.
Now, before you rush off to the comments section to call me a selfish bitch, keep reading.
Because as with any theorem, there is a corollary.
While they can’t buy me a physical token to “thank” me, I have been paid back a thousand fold, already.
I was paid back the first time my son held my gaze. The first time my daughter laid beside me, breathing in, breathing out. When I came back from a trip and my baby hugged me around the head and licked my face like it was a lollipop and refused to let go for an hour. When my girl sat up for the first time, right after I said “No, she can’t sit up yet.” The time my child was hurt and ran past 3 people he loves to get to me, the only one he wanted to comfort him. During our Rockin’ Dance Parties in the kitchen while I should have been making supper, but instead got swept up in moshing to “Jump Around” with them. When my water shy kids would resurface, with chlorine in their eyes, and utter triumph in their smiles. In the middle of the night, with a barfing kid in my bed, watching cartoons at 3 in the morning, because what the hell else could we do? Every time I know I’m supposed to be giving them crap, but I nearly can’t because god damn, those are some funny kids.
No, kids, don’t buy me stuff.
Just keep being.