Sunday is Mother’s Day, as anyone with a television set knows. I’ll be at my mom’s on Sunday (for a short time, before I hit the road to go home) so I don’t have to call and say Happy Mother’s Day.
One of the jewelry companies has a new commercial for Mother’s Day, and I think it plays off the Bud Light “Dude” commercials (which I happen to love). It shows scenes from average life with someone saying “Mom” in one way or another. The best is the last scene, with the young man on a cell phone. You can’t see where he is, but he’s got this stunned, amazed look on his face, and he very quietly says, “Mom?” Then the camera pulls back and you see he’s sitting in a hospital room beside his wife, sitting up in bed with a newborn in her arms. The wife looks at the baby with a gentle smile and says, “I’m Mommy.” Geez, I’m sitting here typing about it and I’m crying. 🙂
Maybe I tear up because it never happened to me like that. I used to think all that sentimental stuff would be really nice to experience, but I never got it, so even when I see it happen to someone else, it doesn’t quite feel real. (Or maybe it’s just jealousy filtering my vision of things.) My ex faced parenthood like it was a dentist appointment that went on for 18 years. He wasn’t all that interested in my OB appointments unless it gave him an excuse to take a day off from work, and while I was in delivery (both times), he had other things on his mind. (I was in labor with Ryan for 20 hours. He disappeared for 4 of them, saying he was going to grab something to eat at BK. The nearest BK was 5 minutes from the hospital. With Alex, I had to call him to tell him to come back to the hospital because my labor had gone active.) He enjoyed the attention of bringing the boys home, but after that, the majority of the work was all mine. I made a point of taking the boys for their baths at 7:00 every night so he could watch “This Old House” in silence. God forbid we didn’t. A friend called one Friday night to invite me out shopping, and I asked him if he could watch the boys so I could go. (The first time I’d ever asked for such an opportunity.) He treated it like he was doing me a favor–for which he expected favors in return–instead of spending time with his children.
I suppose in a way he tried to be the best father he knew how to be, considering his own father was a train wreck in sneakers. When your father is an abusive alcoholic, being a neglectful, self-centered passive/aggressive is a step up, right? For a long time I was mother and father to the boys. Even now, when the boys go see their dad, I’ve noticed they’re not entirely happy about it, which is odd when you consider I’m tougher on rules than he is. His battle cry is, “Go ahead, do what you want.” I’m a little too soft on them sometimes, myself, and I realize that, but at least they know who they can talk to who will listen to them. Dad is for getting out of Mom’s hair twice a month. It’s more than a little gratifying when the ex’s car pulls up at our meeting spot and both the boys say, “Awww!”
So Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. For all we do, one day a year doesn’t seem like enough, but we’re used to doing without. To watch our kids sleeping at night, knowing they’re safe and content and they have what they need, it makes every day feel like Mother’s Day.