It’s Loony’s birthday and in honor of it, I shall refer to him as The Old Man for the rest of his life.
I’m not gonna wax too rhapsodic about him because I’m a score keeper and I know that I’ll just get pissed off at him when my birthday rolls around and he doesn’t construct an ode to my greatness to be shared on the internet to twelve whole followers.
Clearly I love him more.
Yet I won’t do that to him. I shall gather no capital today.
If it weren’t an arctic wasteland, I would force Loony to go birding. It is his #1 most favorite thing.
We are both pretty laid back about our birthdays, insisting that we want and need nothing. And it’s true. But yesterday I had an epiphany about holidays where you celebrate others, such as Mother’s Day where I was not celebrated but it’s kind of my fault so I’ll let it slide. This time.
Sure, Hallmark holidays suck and I encourage people to not participate in the consumerism.
When I look at this last weekend where on Saturday we went all out to celebrate Scrotus’s birthday (big party, big fun) and then the next day was Mother’s Day (no one even looked up from the TV when I came back from my walk) I realized that there is a discrepancy in our home.
I don’t give two shits about store bought flowers, chocolates, champagne brunches amidst the throngs and Hallmark cards.
Nor do I want a gift that is a result of wandering aimlessly around a store looking for something that will do. I spent a year of my life getting rid of that element of my life.
I think of my morning walks as Blue’s gift to me.
Here’s what That Fucking Cat got me.
But I DO believe in honoring others and while I am great at honoring my kids, I haven’t taught them how to honor me, or Loony, or anyone else.
Expressing your love comes naturally to some, but to others it is a learned skill. Personally, I suck at holidays. I practically ruined Christmas this year.
I don’t want them to grow up believing that gratitude and celebration is a one-way street that only leads to them. And like everything else, I must teach my children how to be thoughtful and how to show appreciation, and not just through example.
So yesterday I printed out some photos, got out the colored markers and sat on my office floor with the boys and made a card for Loony.
We talked about what it meant, how if you love someone you think hard about what they would like, how you don’t just dash something off quickly to get it over with, you take your time.
You have fun doing it.
When they woke up this morning, I got them to dress quickly and run downstairs to say happy birthday and present him with their masterpiece.
He loved it and was clearly moved. Hopefully they saw the effect it had on him. Hopefully it made them feel good to make him feel good, which is part of what is so great about giving. Which is why I love giving.
Also part of the equation is being a gracious recipient.
I need to stop insisting that no one do anything for me, especially when there is a little part of me that will be disappointed when they don’t.
I need to allow other people in, to accept their love and not be afraid to let the balance of the relationship even out a little bit by allowing them give to me. I need to let go of this subtle form of manipulation where I keep people in my debt.
I can do this by receiving … by not being the only person who ever gets to do anything for anyone.
I’ve rejected holidays for years based upon my preconceived notion that it was about jumping through hoops and spending money on cue. Now I see it a little differently.
Now I understand why it meant so much to my mother, although in my defense I must say that I never failed to give her a gift and card and call her up until our estrangement.
In my zeal to reject Mother’s Day, I realize that I have neglected to acknowledge the women who have acted as a mother to me. That is totally uncool.
So here are the women who have meant so much to me and who I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to. Not because I have to. Not because it’s on the calendar. But because they deserve it.
My mother. We have been estranged for over a year and there isn’t a day that I don’t think about it. I don’t know how to be together with you without perpetuating cycle of pain that has become our way, but I am ever grateful for the sacrifices you made, the gifts you gave, what you taught me about being a strong and capable woman and the magic you showed me during our time in San Francisco.
I wish you peace and contentment. You have always deserved better than what life gave you. You are forever in my heart.
Marcia, who has been my best friend and advisor since I was 13, who I can speak more freely to than anyone else on this earth, who is my spiritual mother and has never once judged me or spoken a harsh word to me. Your love, compassion and wisdom is boundless. I love you. Please live forever.
MaryAnn, who came into my life when I was 16 and has been my father’s true companion, grandmother to my children, and always the soft voice of love. You stepped into my life, and my children’s lives, to teach us about how to love and honor someone on their special day. How to make a big deal out of a birthday and to be truly selfless. I speak for my entire family when I say this, our family would not be complete without you.
And Anita, my mother-in-law. I never felt acceptance from someone like I do from you.
From the moment you met me, a married and confused woman in the midst of a great upheaval, you opened your arms and home to me. I have always felt supported, embraced and appreciated by you.
I have never felt any disapproval or disappointment, I never felt like I had to try harder to impress you. Your energy for our boys is unfathomable. I love you.
That’s enough of the squishy stuff. My Dad and MaryAnn are arriving soon and I have to bake a cake for my sweet husband’s birthday, because it’s his favorite.