Sunday, May 8, 2011

Would Mother's Day, By Any Other Name, Still Taste So Bitter

Time for the obligatory Mother's Day post.

I love my mother. She's a special person who is not responsible for my lack of manners. She raised me right, but somewhere I took a wrong turn into Cold-Hearted Snark Territory. I call Mom every morning and every night. I see her several times per week. This morning, I gave her a lovely card that will make her cry, a small cake with buttercream icing, a pint of homemade potato salad, a National Enquirer, and a Globe. That's what you give a woman who has everything and asks for nothing. Things she values. Things she enjoys.

That said, let's turn to my own Mother's Day festivities. We are having a barbecue supper. Put-Upon H had offered to take me out to a restaurant, but I wanted no part of the crowds. So I spent the morning making potato salad. If the menu was left to Carnivore H, we would have meat. And bread. The bread is so your fingers don't get messy. I'm not going all out. It's Mother's Day, you know. I whipped up some Hidden Valley ranch dip with an envelope of powdered mix and a tub of sour cream (which I had to make a trip to Save-A-Lot to purchase this morning) to go with baby carrots, and later I will slice the tops off some strawberries.

Put-Upon H and I disagree on the celebration of Mother's Day. He seems to find it an inconvenient holiday designed to rob him of 45 minutes of his valuable goat-and-chicken time in order to allow our sons to provide me with tokens of appreciation. It's to the point where I wish it was just another day, so I wouldn't have to deal with his put-uponness.

I, on the other hand, see Mother's Day as an opportunity for children to show their mom that they appreciate how she has given them life, or taken them into her home, and made a concerted effort to raise them to be upstanding citizens with compassion for all mankind, plus devoted her time to providing them with shelter, sustenance, a clean wardrobe, playthings, an education, and swabbed their fevered brow in times of illness, fostered their tender self-esteem, and above all, loved them for who they are. And because they start out as kids, they need a role model such as...oh...I don't know...perhaps...a father to show them how to do this. Maybe with kind words, or hugs, or breakfast in bed, or homemade crafts, or store-bought cards, or a day off from cooking and laundry, or a movie, or just some peace and quiet to do as she pleases.

I am OH SO OVER expecting material mementos of affection. Even though every year I am asked what I would like. Put-Upon H has grudgingly hauled the boys to The Devil's Playground most of the previous years in order to provide me with store-bought love. He seems to think, instead, that children are capable of trekking eight miles to town, unsupervised, in order to barter their old toys for something suitable for a loving mother. Yesterday, Put-Upon H heaved a heavy sigh, called to The Pony to announce the impending sacrifice of his precious animal-bonding time, and shot me an are you happy NOW look. Thank the Gummi Mary, the #1 son can drive himself, and has earned lawn money enough to purchase a card for me. Whether I need it or not.

It's hard for me to remain (heh) bright and cheery on this day, seeing as how on Father's Day, King H wants for naught. Nigh on three figures are spent to provide him with tooly things and fowly things and knifey things, and Falstaff beery things that he enjoys hoarding. I do not begrudge the time or effort that it takes to find the proper gift-worthy items, whether it means The Devil to pay, or traipsing through flea markets, or bidding on eBay. The boys play an active role in the mission. Because they are kids. And they need to be shown how to provide special treatment to a loved one on a special day.

Put-Upon H has somehow arrived at the idea that Mother's Day has nothing to do with him. He has the same comment every Mother's Day, when I tell him to just forget it if it's such a big deal, that I don't want anything. It's preceded by a huffed-out sigh. A shrug. An excuse. "You're not my mother." Indeed. I'm not Santa Claus, either, but everyone in this house gets surprise gifts to open every Christmas morning. Oh. Except me.

Somehow, I'm not reaping the benefits of how this you're not business works. I am sad, but not surprised, to report that I did not rake in my requested gift of a dehumidifier. Is that too much to ask? Really? A dehumidifier to put in the basement of the Mansion, to replace the one that is five years old, and runs loudly for four days without filling up? The one full of mold, despite the bleach I used to treat it? The stachybotrys breeding ground? I think not.

Let me leave you with photos of the champions of my Mother's Day Hall of Shame gifts, from several years ago:

Let the record show that it was a single box of SnoCaps. And that the quarter was not included with the change purse. It is merely used to represent the size.

Now that I have let the ungratefulness seep out of my pores, I am feeling less bitter. I shall purchase my own dehumidifier, by cracky! And I will plop a heaping helping of that potato salad made by my own hands with the sweat of my own brow onto my own plate. Right after I serve it onto the plates of The Pony, #1, and Put-Upon H.


Kathy's Klothesline said...

Well, I don't know what to say. That doesn't happen often, either. In spite of his many shortcomings, he who is the father of my children always finds a way to show me some special attention on special days. It is true that his gifts are sometimes um, unconventional. Like the Mothers Day gift of 40 lbs of cow manure to fertilize my flower beds. Then there are the electronic gifts that he buys for me because he wants them. But the fanfare of the presentation is always spectacular.

Turn about is fair play, you know. Fathers Day is just around the corner.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Even I can not be that cold-hearted. Even though Father H is not MY father, I will see that the day is special for him. I might even serve him a tower of soup. But two things that will not be in his gift basket are a box of SnoCaps and a floral change purse.

Mommy Needs a Xanax said...

Maybe #1 will put forth some effort now that he can get himself to the Devil's Playground on his own. My mom got a phone call from me and that was it. I forgot to mail her card, but I did call and tell her I love her and all that stuff.

We'll see how Mother's Day evolves as my kiddos get older but this time I got to stay in bed an hour later than normal, then Tim cooked breakfast for me. I also got a gift certificate for a manicure and pedicure by my favorite Asian chick in town and a Snoopy card from Charlie and another card from Tim. Not a bad haul.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Well, they left out the change purse, but I'd say you did remarkably well. Just the absence of a glare is something to crow about.