It's almost Mother's Day, but you'll pass on the flowers this year. Not another bouquet, fresh-cut, swaddled in pink, delivered to you. You don't need a new thing to smile at, to primp, to arrange and shuttle to an appropriate place before it begins to droop and drop in little piles, leaving you a smelly mess of grime to scrub clean. You'd prefer a new pair of scissors or a fancy Japanese knife.
And as these thoughts float across the dirty counter you're rushing to polish, you scold yourself. So ungrateful. After all, you love being a mom (sometimes.) And who hates flowers? (Truth be told, you adore all types of plant life-- when you're in the right mood.) Now you berate yourself for having moods, then for berating yourself, for putting everything in parentheses, and so-on. On you polish. A drop of sweat splashes onto the counter. Your portable, expandable judge (named Mother with a capital "M") has a heavy mallet, or meat tenderizer, protruding from mind, to ear, to temple where there is a constant veiny smashing going on. (Could this be stress?) You pound yourself with things to do, places to be, stuff completed late, or imperfectly, or just all wrong.
You're so tired. Tired of picking up kids and dishes and dirt and laundry and equipment and backpacks and boogers and candy wrappers and volunteer jobs and loads of worries and tears and drama. Such drama. Sometimes, if you stop for a moment, you pick-up yourself, the lady, the girl left behind in the delivery room, on playgrounds, soccer fields, in cell phones, along the same old streets, in backpacks, or in one of the million emails detailing yet another day, another schedule.
You collect yourself in fragments, like petals, and you try to arrange them. You wonder-- who am I?
You press your flesh, and yes, you're there. You've got skin and you're actually quit soft. You stare in the mirror. You've got eyes peeking out of those folds. (Damn, you forgot the mascara.) You stomp your feet and feel your heels banging on the tile, clinging to calves, knees, hips and shoulders. You're complex! You are, in fact, a body comprised of thousands of moments, memories and dreams.
You have places to go. But sometimes you pause, poised for a sun salutation and a few stretches. It's hard to find that woman in there who's supposed to notice the sun. What does she like? What does she dream? You're bent down, inhaling, and lists stream out in long ujjayi breaths, in waves. Must work more, be more productive, buy broccoli, basil, milk, butter, bubble gum, laundry detergent, and toothpaste. Find the cure, make schools better, feed the poor, destroy Donald Trump, and travel to Bangladesh. Call the dentist, complete swim camp form, and buy brownies for first grade. Internal siren goes off. You stand up, dizzy. Forgot the field trip form! Abort breathing! Abort! They're going to the zoo without your son! You're running now, lopsided. Must. Find. Phone.
Obviously, you've got guilt. You haven't done enough. Not today, not yesterday, not in the sum of all your mothering days. You believe that everything imperfect about your child, your family, your life is caused by a decision you've made-- a wrong you've committed. You haven't earned enough money or you've earned too much. You haven't shown enough affection, or you've spoiled that child. You're not healthy enough. You've been working like a bitch or you're a mom with nothing better to do than over-fixate on the kid or, even worse, on herself. You're a martyr or just too relaxed. You pray too little. Where's your faith? You're just. Not. Enough.
And if you're like me, perhaps there's also a dreamy bit of you in there who pictures flitting off to the lovely bed you haven't enjoyed enough. If you stay with such line of thinking, you might find yourself in your husband's arms that you've been missing, or indulging in literature and poetry and food you've forgotten to taste. You're climbing mountains, sipping cappuccinos, dining in romantic, unknown places. You're wearing spikey red heels and fishnet stockings and you're laughing loudly because you feel fantastic just exactly the way you are.
And later you're simply resting in a hammock on a patio with your bare feet propped high against the backdrop of navy sky. Your heart is wrapping about your memories, your spouse, your children, your relatives, your friends in the same light that the moonlight folds you under. It washes away the moments when you were rotten, when they were rotten. It softens the whole picture and every piece of you drifts together into a gorgeous creation that is, actually, a flower.
And that, dear Mother is the flower that is you.
Happy Mother's Day.