Happy Mother’s Day! Contrary to what you may think I have been celebrating Mother’s Day since 2003 when my two twin babies were born, Piccolo and Piglet. After I met Chris, my husband, on our first mother’s day as a couple he gave me two Bermuda baseball hats for my dogs. If I wasn’t sure I would marry him before that moment I was convinced right then. He peaked early.
Fast forward eight years. Wow Eight years. I am now coming up to my third mother’s day as a mother of a human. A part of me is still in denial the rest of me is in awe and wonder.
I wonder how I will spend my third human Mother’s Day. My first mother’s day we went out to lunch with my parents, I had two Planter’s Punches and don’t remember the rest of the afternoon. I wouldn’t mind a repeat. What I do remember is the morning of my first mother’s day. Chris and I were still in the throws of getting used to being parents, and what’s more being a parent to a difficult child with colic. But Chris didn’t forget Mothers day because he never forgets anything. He gave me a framed picture of myself with Baby Eva from Easter Sunday. I think my dad had taken the picture with my camera and I had sent Chris the pictures the following week. It was nice but I didn’t really need a reminder. I got a card too, it was signed” x Chris.” I was hoping for a devotional statement about my amazing skills, devotion and persistence at motherhood and the card was blank in the space where it should have been written. This was before I had wholly embraced my derelict ways. My first mother’s day would have been somewhat of a non event if it hadn’t been for the fact I had barely left the house except for work for four months. Chris had said to me that morning that Mother’s Day was not about getting a day off, it was about spending time with my child, as he passed me Baby Eva like a hot potato.
My second Mother’s Day we went to brunch at Grotto Bay, it was a time out in between a week of managing and entertaining two visiting teachers and the one thing I remember was that it was a beautiful day and Eva ate all her Pesto Pasta and Nana and Pops were visiting so it was Grandmothers day too, which Eva loved. And Nana and Pops took care of Eva for a week while I hosted a screenwriting workshop- that was much better than Mothers Day number one.
Then I forgot Father’s Day… left Daddy at home with Eva and went to a friend’s Bridal Shower. Chris won’t mind. We won’t go deeper into that one. I have an excuse. I suffer from Brain Fog. Then I forgot his birthday, not that I hadn’t planned to celebrate it, not that I didn’t have a present but I forgot on the day. Again- Brain fog.
This Mother’s Day, I have a lot of guilt and disbelief that after 11 years I gave up my little baby boy Piglet. It was for a very good reason, he had been trying to kill his brother for a decade and I could no longer keep them apart. See my post from earlier this year for the full story.
I still see Piglet several times a week for visitation like a divorced derelict parent. On days I don’t see him, I try not to think about him and for mother’s day this year I printed out and framed a picture of him and his new mother and put it on my desk. We are now a complicated family. I still have a hard time when I have to leave him after a day out but I know it’s as it has to be. Accept the things you cannot change etc etc. And I am very grateful to his new mom. I should be more thankful to my own mother, but she makes it difficult for me.
The other day she came home from her volunteering as a family court panelist and said they were shown photographic evidence of a truly derelict mother’s child’s lunch box. It was dirty and inside there was only two slices of white wonder bread with a Velvetta cheese slice in between that was still in its plastic wrap. She said it reminded her of Eva’s lunchbox.
If there is one way in which I am not a derelict mother, it’s with Eva’s lunch box. Yesterday she had tomato soup in a thermos, shredded zucchini with pesto sauce, Chinese dumplings and a few raw chocolate super cookies, which are made out of coconut, dates and cacao. It’s hard to find something that is not organic in my fridge. Maybe my mother is just jealous that I don’t feed Eva chicken nuggets, fish sticks and TV dinners like we ate as kids. It was the 80’s I am actually not trying to give my mother a hard time. But really- we ( Chris and I ) even go to the lengths of spooning organic Stonyfield yogurt into empty Peppa Pig yogurt containers because Eva like most of us is a slave to the celebrity culture of being two years old. URGH. The lunch box is actually what I do best even if this Mother’s day I have to proclaim that for myself.
I was thinking I should start a new tradition this year of writing a card to myself, a card to help silence the inner critic, the one and the same, who named herself derelict mom and laughs the hardest at the worst moments. Moments like the night a month or so ago, while I was reading nighttime stories to Eva and she lifted up my shirt grabbing my stomach overhang with her two hands and needing it like dough demanding, “Time to play with my toy.” I guess it is a bit like play dough.
I am thinking that my mother’s day card to myself this year will say,
“Keep laughing, it’s the best medicine. You are doing the best job you can at the hardest job in the world- being you. The universe has plans. “
It will probably have three times as many words as Chris’s card. And if he forgets entirely I can’t really get mad at him. I was hoping for a surprise on Mother’s Day until he surprised me early- last night, sharply ending the suspense I had been in all week. Chris walked in from work carrying something and announced that he had bought my Mother’s Day present. I was excited because it looked big, wrapped in a plastic bag and at first I couldn’t discern the shape although I see it several times a day. He removed it from its sheath and handed it to me.
“ A brand new, Mayfair… Redondo…. Toilet Seat.”
“I got metal hinges, for fifteen more dollars so you won’t be able to break it.”
“ Thanks.” I said looking at the wrapping “ Evidently Redondo is Spanish for Round.”
“Your new nickname!” Chris says.
“Sounds, fancy.” I say.
“ Fancy and Round.” I add.
“ Fancy and Redondo” Chris says with a Spanish accent.
A week before, Eva and I had been mutually partaking of the potty. She was on the “little potty,” and I was on the “Big Girl Potty.” Bathroom breaks were the only time I could sit down in a given day with Eva so I always took advantage of what was usually quite a production. We have a collection of books in the bathroom, they are all intellectual titles, if you are Two. We traded in our New Yorker magazines for “Good Night New York,” our Time Magazines for “ Ashleigh’s Big Girl Potty.” So on and so forth.
Mid Production, Eva yells “Mommy, turn the page.”
So mid production, I lean over toward Eva to flip the page, when
For a moment I wonder if I have farted, because the sound is coming from that direction, but I realize it’s pretty hard to do that without knowing despite what everyone says.
Then I feel something slide underneath me, I imagine it’s like a 5.0 magnitude earthquake along the San Andreas fault but the problem was the fault line was under my butt.
I careened, caught in my underwear into Eva, spilling her off her potty, and both of us, pants around our ankles, fall into a heap on the floor.
Chris rushes into the room.
“I think I broke something.”
“Yes you did.”
“You cracked the hinges right off the toilet seat. How did you manage that?”
“I don’t care about the toilet seat, I think I broke my ankle, bracing for the fall from aloft.”
“ Maybe it’s just sprained,” I say trying to recover my decorum.
“ Why don’t you pull up your pants,” Chris says.
“Christ give me a minute, “ I say as I pull up Eva’s undies and pants.
“No I mean yours!” Chris says.
“I might not be finished.”
“Well you finished the toilet seat.”
“All I did is lean over and turn the page in her book.”
“ I have told you before, you aren’t very good at doing more than one thing at a time.”
“Don’t most people multi task on the toilet.”
“It’s not the place to learn.”
“Eva, Mommy broke the toilet seat.”
Eva started to cry, and I comforted her.
“Mummy’s got a big butt, it’s not your fault, Eva.”
Eva, like a lot of two year olds starts to cry when something unexpected happens. She has really been perturbed this week because there is a new baby named Luke at nursery. Yesterday when she got home I asked her,
“Do you like Luke?”
“No,” she said.
“Why?” I asked
“Because! He is a baby.” She shouted with disdain.
“I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN,” I think flashing back to my first few months with Eva.
Eva climbs up above me on the bench we have in the yard, looks quizzically down at me, as if wondering why I was asking. She took her right hand and with the sweetest look of kindness she caressed my face like an old woman would a young child while saying,
“But Mommy, I like YOU. “
and then she added in a preview for June, “ and I like Daddy TOO.”
And that was enough for me on Mother’s Day. Oh and the new toilet seat was a great addition. But Mother’s day is also about being grateful for ones own mother. I certainly can’t forget I have one of those, so even though she doesn’t like to babysit for Eva, criticizes my highest achievements in motherhood, my lunchbox, and drives me crazy, I still have to admit she is wonderful, I do love her, and she is an amazing sport about my blog although she is prone to longwinded comments. But who reads the comments?
I found this funny picture of my mother with her mother which I thought I would include doesn’t the picture say it all!
In celebration of the love and hate relationship which is the mother-daughter dynamic, go and watch August: Osage County with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, and listen to this old Blues track my friend Sara sent me, “Motherless Child Blues,” a Blues track from the 1930s by “Geeshie and Elvie” one of the earliest and rarest recordings from early 20th century African American music and read the NY times article “The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie.”
And just in case you are curious, I did give my mother a card, I scanned it and included it below. Like Eva likes to say now: “It’s So Funny!”
Xx Derelict Mom.