I had zero expectations for Mother's Day. In fact, I was kind of dreading it. Last year Greg was in Italy and I was driving with the two boys from Colorado to Ohio. When I found myself having lunch at a Burger King play area somewhere in middle of Illinois, I realized this was not my idea of the perfect Mother's Day brunch. Luckily there was another mom there with her two young kids. They were driving from Iowa to Michigan. We laughed at our circumstances and exchanged tips for traveling with kids in the car. Maybe not the ideal situation for the day, but a good time was had by all.
This year, Greg was in Italy again. I had images of everyone else getting cards and flowers and being taken out to eat at festive places. That would not happen here, I knew, unless I arranged it and supervised it. I figured we'd just have a normal, mellow Sunday, me and the boys. The usual squabbles, the usual accidents, the usual messes made, maybe do some gardening, jump on the trampoline a bit, pick up a few groceries or get a video if we needed to get out. I'd be nice to myself, but mostly just ignore the holiday. I agreed with a humorous piece I'd recently read that started, "Mother's Day, yeah right, as if a mother could ever really get a break for a whole day…" It’s a tease, one of those holidays that builds up expectations that can never be met, like Valentine’s Day, more annoying than fun in the end, a capitalist exploitation of love. I did have to laugh, though, at the commentator on Weekend Edition who said (to those with mothers who usually cook for them), "If you expect to be fed on Mother's Day, you WILL be disappointed." But of course I would feed the boys, as I always do. It is truly unrewarding to cook for them, but I would do it.
So I was surprised when on Sunday morning I heard the kids wake up and I heard Kadin immediately whisper to Rees, "Rees, it's Mother's Day!" Wow, how did he remember that? The boys came into my room and gave me big hugs and told me how much they loved me. That was just the sweetest, made all the sweeter because I knew they didn't have anyone coaching them in what to say and do.
Then at breakfast Kadin gave me a small green package. On the card he had laboriously written: Happy Mother's Day, I Love You, Kadin. Inside was a candleholder he had made at preschool (but he wouldn't let me light the candle).
Rees gave me a decorated envelope and inside was a book of poetry that he had written at school. [I had seen the envelopes when they came home on Friday, and let me just tell you that if you had a girl, your envelope was decorated with colorful tissue paper flowers and such, but I have a boy so mine was decorated with an interesting drawing that looked like some sort of devil creature, but a smiling devil creature. There is some truth to that snips and snails thing! Boy poetry follows.]
Still, I loved it. It was so refreshingly genuine and innocent for them, not corrupted by commercialism or expectations (only slight prompting by their teachers at school---thank you teachers!). We had a really nice day in the end and didn't even make it to the grocery store (phew!). The big outing turned out to be a long walk where we collected bugs then ran a mile on the highschool track. Boys are truly fascinating. Here are a couple of Rees' poems:
I am a loyal friend.
I am a good runner.
I am a human.
I am happy.
I am a Star Wars fan.
I am a boy.
I am a reader.
I am a thorny devil expert.
I am Rees.
I am a spy.
I am me!
What should we do? asked the Juboo.
Let's write, said the knight.
No, we should walk, said the clock.
We'll sing a tune, demanded the goon.
We'll do all, said the ball.
With what? said the hut.
Ugg, groaned the bug.
We will not! screamed the pot.
I agree with ball, said the wall.