My firstborn forced me to wonder what I did with all of the hours in a day before giving birth. Once my husband and I got her home from the hospital (elated that they didn't expect us to bring her back) I soon learned that things like taking a five-minute shower was no longer a basic right, it was a privilege. Activities once taken for granted, like spending an entire Saturday morning in bed before heading to brunch by three pm, devoting an entire Sunday to laying on the couch reading the Times or taking my sweet old time in Sephora quickly became things of the past. All indulgences that used to be routine, like shaving my legs, for instance, suddenly felt slightly naughty. Slipping out to the mall child-free evoked even more guilt. A regular trip to the hair salon felt like a full-blown affair.
Yet just when it seemed as if those days were here to stay, somehow - almost as if by magic, I swear - they faded into the ether faster than acid washed jeans. I got over feeling guilty about pampering myself and remembered that it was something I not only needed, but also actually deserved. And now that all my children are far past the infancy stage, I can actually leave them with daddy for a few hours while I jet off to loll around in a white robe. I love the idea of a day when all I have to think about is me. What I wouldn’t give to have a hot stone massage, facial and pedicure before rolling out of heaven, I mean, Haven, feeling like whole wheat fettuccini. After taking my sweet old time waiting for the toenail polish to dry, I’d drive home barefoot, climb into bed and doze off for as long as I pleased.
Sounds like the perfect Mothers Day, doesn’t it? Of course it does, unless you’re me. Because, believe it or not, all I really want to do this Sunday is hang out with husband and kids.
I'm no masochist, really I'm not, but aside from a homemade card, I don’t even want gifts. I’d much rather spend time remembering the real meaning of the Hallmark co-opted holiday through the words that the activist poet Julia Ward Howe penned so long ago about all of the mothers of the world rising up in the name of peace. I want to call my mom, and then my ninety-one year old grandmom to thank them. I want to think about the day my kids were born and then I just want to enjoy them.
And then we'll pack up the car and head for the hills for some fun. Up here in the Mid Hudson, there will be plenty of mom-friendly things to get into that are all within a days drive. For one, there are at least a dozen historic mansions all along the Hudson River. Unless you're into antiques it sounds kind of boring...until you actually set foot in one. And there are day trips a plenty: in the time it takes for Dora to come on, followed by Diego we could drive to Dia:Beacon or Great Barrington. And if we're really feeling adventurous (and nobody's too cranky) we could hightail it to North Adams, MA to check out MASS MOCA. And last but not least, thanks to the CIA, there are a myriad of fine places to absolve me of dinner duty.
That would really be enough, because as much as I adore Red Envelope, there's nothing that can replace the fact that I already have my gift. I might not be able to go to the bathroom without a small army standing in front of the door as if I’m plotting to escape through the commode, but my children are more than enough (in a good way). Their laughter sounds better than anything I could download onto my ipod. Their eyes sparkle far brighter than any token I could receive in a little blue box. And although I can often feel them peeling years off my life with their unwarranted whining, there’s really no place else I’d rather be, nothing else I’d rather be doing and nobody else I’d rather be but their mom.
I say all of this knowing full well that one day down the line, at least one of them will wonder what I once asked my own mom out loud: “Hey wait a minute, how come there’s a Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and Grandparents Day…but no Kids Day? And I’ll patiently respond with the patented answer: “Because every day is Kids Day”. I'll leave it at that because hopefully, one day in the distant future, they’ll realize what it took me until now to understand: every day is Mother's Day, too. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go treat myself to a massage (my mother didn’t raise a fool).