I didn't call my mother on Mother's Day.
I didn't even send an email or a text message.
I could blame it on the plumbing or exhaustion or, I don't know, I could say I lost my voice and my internet was down.
But honestly . . . .
I didn't call because my mother hated holidays.
She liked to decorate for Christmas, and sew costumes for school Halloween parties. She used to make these really intricate cakes for birthdays. Cakes like a baby grand piano complete with a full keyboard and peddles or the six layer mountain "cake" made from egg, milk, and leaven free ingredients for my allergic brother. It had little pine trees and a waterfall and a toy train winding it's way up to the top and I think there was even a tunnel.
But if the holiday had anything to do with focusing attention on her, she hated it. And I mean tight-lipped, neck-sinew-twitching hatred. And I think Mother's day pretty much topped the list.
If I remember right, the rationale went something like this: If you love me, show me year round; if you don't, then cut the crap. Direct quote. I think the once a year brouhah over mothers struck her as a bit hypocritical.
So I'm a little hesitant to make that call, you know? Because I'm not an affectionate person no matter what day it is or who you are. Unless you're under three feet tall and you drool. In that case I'm okay with you invading my personal space and I'll probably tell you how smart and wonderful you are. But once you're taller than my elbow you're pretty much on your own. I'll listen to what you have to say; and if you sincerely want to listen, I have a few things to say myself occasionally. When we can actually hear one another. And actually, I prefer email. Take it or leave it.
Do I feel guilty? Yeah. I start thinking about it some time in April. I always pick up the phone and stare at it on D-day. Some years I make the call. Some years I don't, but we manage to step around the issue by talking about something else entirely, when I do hit send.
Last year I bought gift certificates. One for Mom, one for Dad, in March. I even bought cards and figured I'd make a sneak attack through the US postal system. I think I finally sent them in July.
So Mom, and I know you'll probably read this out of sheer morbid curiosity if nothing else, having noticed the M-word in the title. I'm sorry I didn't call. Because I know you noticed. And even when the attention makes you squirm, it probably feels even worse when I say nothing at all.
Thank you for the ridiculous cakes and the costumes and the hours spent on the phone the rest of the year talking about nothing at all. Thank you for taking us to Conference, year after year; for trying, when it seemed like nothing you did would ever be enough, or noticed, or matter. I'm a mother now too, and I'm beginning to understand.
Read and post comments