Well moms, it’s our time of year once again. When our families flock to us and bestow gifts and cards and flowers and chocolates upon us. When diamond tiaras are placed upon our heads in order to reinforce our queenly status, and we are carried around by handsome men in modest loincloth attire, lest our precious feet touch the ground.
Songs are written for us, trees bloom for us, and our praises are sung to us by tiny fairies who only come out on one day of the year. Mother’s Day. When expectations are set so low that even a ripped card from someone else’s mailbox makes us happy.
Yes, that is how low the bar needs to be set. Because every day is Mother’s Day, and every day we are taken for granted, and that is okay. Because we are mothers. We are martyrs.
Unless I am just speaking for myself.
Husband #1 prides himself on being everyone’s “favorite.” When I left for Israel and he was home alone for a week, he did his laundry for the first time in almost 28 years. That is correct; he has never used the washing machine and dryer since we have been married, and if he tells you that I am making that fact up, he is not being truthful. In any event, I showed him how to use the machine before I went away, and he did his laundry all by himself.
His sons were so proud of him. “Mom, Dad did great. He did his laundry and then he folded it.” You would think the man cured cancer. I have been doing laundry and folding it for almost 28 years, and I don’t think anyone has ever taken a second look. Because I am a mother and I am taken for granted. I think it is in the job description.
A mother’s love for her children is one that cannot even be described. (A mother’s love for her husband is a totally different story and cannot be described properly, because the language used would be censored in this paper.) When I gave birth to Son #1, I didn’t look at him and fall head over heels in love. That came after my dad brought me cheerios and milk to eat and then a few hours after that. I didn’t realize, at the time, that it was totally normal to feel that way. But after a few hours it hits you — and then it just never goes away. The love is real, people. The love is real.
So when you do their laundry and cook their favorite foods or even their not-favorite foods (which, in some cases, far outweigh the favorites and isn’t done intentionally), when you buy them clothes that they don’t like and it takes three or four tries before they are finally happy with them, when you clean their rooms and drive them to hockey practice or baseball practice or debate practice or to a friend — when you do all of these things, you don’t do them expecting anything in return. Not a thank you, not some flowers every once in a while, or even a half-eaten chocolate bar.
You don’t expect anything because that is what being a mom is all about. Now there are those of you who definitely will not agree with me. There are those of you who will say I must have done a terrible job raising my boys because they don’t know how to say thank you (they do) or do their laundry (oops) or clean up after themselves (their wives are doing a great job teaching them that), and you are all entitled to your opinion.
I am the mother I am because I wanted to do things differently than my mother did. Is that good? Is it bad? You would have to ask my kids. They know that with all the crazy comes a lot of laughter and good stuff. They know that I am always here for them for whatever they need (except help in yeshiva or to be able to pay attention to an entire d’var Torah, and I have very little patience when it comes to clothing shopping or any shopping for that matter). Thank God I am 26 years in in this mothering thing, and I doubt I am ever going to change. I will probably just get more annoying.
So happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there. It is a thankless job, so I hope you get the recognition you deserve. As for me, this Mother’s Day is my dad’s first yahrzeit. I cannot believe it has been a whole year, and that he won’t magically come back now. But I do know that he thought I was a great mom, and that is all I will need this year.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck can officially receive gifts again the day after Mother’s Day. She hopes her Oreos know that as well… (Wait, didn’t she just say that she doesn’t need any gifts??????)