Pancakes on Mother’s Day
posted on 5/9/14
How do you sufficiently appreciate your mother in one day? (photo credit: Thinkstock/iStock)
Like everyone else until the day you’re anointed a mom, I spent my life on the appreciating end of Mother’s Day, which meant that every year about this time I was reliably filled with dread. How do you sufficiently appreciate your mother in one day? Does a pancake breakfast in bed suffice? What if you add blueberries? Maybe a Mother’s Day card that sings “Wind Beneath My Wings”?
If you’ve ever had a birthday or a wedding or a child, you know that people are incredibly generous and for that you should be grateful in cursive ink on heavy paper. Since you were not raised by wolves, in those thank you notes you are specific about what someone was kind enough to give you. You include details about why you appreciate the gift, possibly what you’ve used the gift for, and a few poetic words describing your sure demise had the generous soul not entered into your life.
So, let’s apply this tidy formula to Mother’s Day.
But this year, I’m finally on the giving end of motherhood. I’m the one tiptoeing away from the door of my sleeping child after singing the same made-up song I sing to her every night that magically coaxes her to sleep. I’m the one reading book after book of ways to raise a healthy and happy child. I’m the one who constantly frets that I’m doing it wrong. I’m the one who squeezes her so tight for reasons I can’t describe and she could never understand.
And I finally get how none of the laundry lists of things I thanked my mom for in Mother’s Day cards of years past even approximate what my mom has given me. Because there are no words to describe the gift of being mothered.
The time that she spent with you, encouraging you, loving you, and then the time that she gave to you when you had no idea? Those nights when she worried about you, said a prayer for you, or the millions of other moments that you, oblivious and thankless child, never knew?
You can’t thank someone for things that you don’t know you received.
Which seems to me the closest I can come to explaining motherhood. It’s a limitless giving that may never be known.
In response to that expansive gift, blueberry pancakes, once sweet, are now laughable! Bette Midler in the flesh—who cares?!
So I accept that anything I do, say, or buy on Mother’s Day will be terribly inadequate. And in my resignation I will go to Hallmark and pick that one card that I hope conveys my appreciation for my mom. Only now that I’ve also earned the title ‘mom’ is my oblivion lifted and I can see how much there is to appreciate on this one day.
Andrea Lee is a mom who’s winging it, just like everyone else.
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