I am a control freak. Ask anyone: my husband, my children, the postal carrier. I like to know what is happening, when and with whom. I’ve gotten (a little) better now that the kids are older (11 and almost 13), but I still like to be in charge. I am not ashamed of this because I’m not rude about it. However, if I have an opinion about the plans we are making, you’d best be sure you will hear about it.
And this, my friends, is why I planned my own Mother’s Day. It’s no reflection on my husband or family, but I’ve always found the holiday to be a bit of a letdown. My husband is pretty laidback and doesn’t make specific plans. Instead, he usually wakes up that morning and asks me what I want to do. My response is a downtrodden “I don’t know,” and the passive-aggressive stewing begins. Mine, that is.
What he doesn’t know is that we moms have big expectations about Mother’s Day. It’s our day off, our day to relax, our day to do whatever the hell we want, right? Well, not if no one knows what we want to do.
So this year — finally, after 12 Mother’s Days — I took some time to figure out something I would enjoy doing and told my husband about it. Was that so difficult? Not really, especially for someone who is normally so vocal about her opinions. And it saved us both a whole lot of hurt feelings. On my end: I got to do what I wanted. On his end: He didn’t have to deal with the quiet wrath of a disappointed wife.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy the gifts and cards. Handmade or store-bought, I adore all of it. I savor every last word and shed boatloads of tears (see previous post “Confessions of a Mother’s Day Card Sap”). This year, I particularly loved that the kids made me breakfast in bed. Slightly runny eggs and mushy toast is, after all, my favorite. They even did the dishes. But what about after breakfast? Then what?
Honestly, the idea of heading to the local nursery and fighting other crabby moms who would rather be getting pedicures (maybe I’m projecting a bit here) for the last hydrangea hanging basket is not my idea of a good time. Do I like planting things? It’s not exactly at the top of my list. I’d rather get that pedicure or go to brunch, especially if mimosas are involved.
And that’s how I made Mother’s Day my own. I named the place. I picked the time. I told the kids what to wear (I am the mom after all). And I dragged my little family to the gospel brunch at the House of Blues in Chicago, where the four of us proceeded to get down with Jesus. I am not a very religious person, but that gospel choir’s performance moved me. And, you know, I think my husband and kids liked it too — or at least they did a stellar job pretending they did. I know they enjoyed the all-you-can-eat buffet.
The important thing is that we were together, and Miss Control Freak spent the day her way. Because if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy…especially on Mother’s Day.