Let’s face it: Mother’s Day is a Hallmark holiday. Besides, given the enormity of the role, mothers should be honored every day. But that isn’t what happens is it, ladies? So it’s kind of nice that there’s at least one day when our children and spouses have to acknowledge us! The question is, what do we want from one another? Watching my old friend Barbara Biziou’s video in which she suggests giving your mother a box of symbolic goodies, including quotes that you like, gave me an idea of three non-material gifts I’m going to give my daughter and three I”d like from her. But let me start with one thing we should do for each other:
Take a picture together. I’ve been asking mothers and daughters to send (via motherublog at gmail dot com) photos for the Mother U gallery. But guess what? They’re hard to come by. Why? Because we’re usually behind the camera. And the men of the family rarely suggest taking a picture of us–except perhaps on special occasions. My mother died when I was 29, and it makes me sad to realize I don’t have one picture of the two of us, except my wedding.
So if you’re together today, make someone take a picture of the two of you. If not, do it the next time you’re together. And now for those gift ideas… Luckily, these are gifts that Jen and I already give each other–this is just a reminder to keep it up.
Three gifts for my daughter:
Separation. It’s your life. This gets easier to remember as the years go by, but it’s sometimes still tempting to butt in! I’ve been there, but I have to keep reminding myself that my “there” is different from yours–and I don’t necessarly know better!
Support. I’m here to remind you that you can do it–whatever “it” is. Even when you’re struggling, even when I don’t think you should take it on, I’m behind you.
Inspiration. I cherish my own indpendence and know that it’s good for both of us. Sadly, it’s a gift my mother didn’t give me, because she never had a life of her own. Aging is the pits, but I’ll try to do it gracefully by staying mentally and physically fit. And when I can’t, I’ll complain to my friends about it, not you!
Three gifts I’d like from Jen:
Patience. Admittedly, I’m like a whirling dervish, what with homes in four places. (As I write this, in fact, I’m in Paris, where Fetes des Meres is celebrated on June 7.) And I know I drive you crazy because I ask you to check your calendar so often. But remember that’s because you and the boys are a priority in my life.
Respect. Not the kind with a capital “R,” which is what you have to give your mother–but the everyday kind of respect you give to other woman. Seriously, would you immediately roll your eyes or answer the phone with, “What do you want?” with anyone but me? I know you’re busy–so am I! Besides, your kids are paying attention, and some day they might do the same to you!
Stand up for our relationship. Its easy to blame Mom and take her for granted–the culture does! Our being “close” is a way to chip away at those messages. We’re both busy, and we’re both captivated by your children. But “us” time–the occasional lunch, movie, shopping excursion, your annual trip to Florida–nurtures our special bond.