Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Hope Every Mom Out There Had a Happy Mother's Day!!
I remember Mother's Day being a bit depressing for me. In particular, I'm reflecting back on being a single Mom with CB, after my separation from her Dad. For almost 2 years I was a single parent (though she did spend time with her dad too). There are many hardships involved with single parenthood... both financial and emotional. When you are the parent of a non-verbal child with significant cognitive impairments and severe autism it is even more isolating in that even when you're in your 2 bedroom crappy apartment with your child, you are still aware of how alone you are. Like, other than the sound of her Barney DVD playing over and over and over again and occasional squeals, you are constantly with someone yet very alone. At least, I'm just speaking for myself. Luckily, I wasn't alone for too long. Though it felt like an eternity at the time. I found out loneliness feels like a physical pain.
So, my birthday, CB's birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day... days that involve the excitement and participation of a child are not as full of joy when your child has no clue as to why this day is any different from any other. At least with Christmas, I get together with my own family of origin. But Mother's Day... well that would have been a day that a SPOUSE would make the "big deal over me" for CB. With my separation, obviously my soon-to-be-ex was not going to make me breakfast in bed or fluff my pillows and buy me flowers from CB. So a few early Mother's Days were spent totally alone, as my family of origin were 3 hours away and I was completely on my own. It wasn't the worse thing in the world, but I can't deny it could have been better.
With that back story, I will let you know how this particular Mother's Day went down.
After a very long week full of multiple play dates, speech therapy (2x/week for baby Rella), my husband having 3 late night functions, soccer practices, grocery shopping, errands, cooking and cleaning to entertain on Saturday, etc... I got to have several hours on Saturday hanging out with my MOM.
I invited her over for a light lunch which included tea sandwiches, fresh fruit, pasta salad and Bloody Marys. My husband, Dr. Fabulous, had the kids out so my Mom and I were able to lounge on our balcony and enjoy the breeze, sun, and view. It was really nice.
Mother's Day proper began with the typical 6:00 am ceremonial "waking of the grown-ups," followed by Dr. Fabulous making me a very simple, but appreciated breakfast. The kids gave me a great little gift from a local potter we love in our town.
Then I bathed 4 children, packed up medication, changes of clothes, diapers, wipes, and the kitchen sink and loaded the car with 4 kids for our 2 hour drive up to the Northern part of the state to see my in-laws. We all get together on Mother's Day and congregate there.
This year, we went out to brunch at a nice restaurant. Not my favorite venue with all 4 kids, mainly because of the behavior of the baby and CB. It was an insanely large and crowded restaurant where you felt herded like cattle, waiting in long ass lines at the food buffets. After getting 4 plates for your kids together, you finally wait to get your own food to find all the hot food is gone - waiting to be replenished and there isn't a clean available plate for miles. The cost was 40 bucks a head on top of it. CB hung in there, but she has a hard time in these environments. At one point she tried to kick the table over. At another point, she hocked a giant spit ball across the table directly on everyone sitting across from her. We were able to keep her relatively contained. She held her own, but it's never free of stress on some level to be out with her.
We ended the day returning to my in-laws, drinking some wine, ordering pizza for dinner and hitting the road later than we expected, getting home after 10 pm.
There were no spas and flowers, certainly not much R & R. But I'll take having Mother's Day together with a family over those few Mother's Days where I sat alone feeling the wind blow through me. I guess my expectations of Mother's Day have lowered quite a bit. Or, perhaps I just try to remind myself of what really is most important. Not to be spoiled, but to belong with family. Not to feel sorry for myself over what I don't have, but appreciate the everyday gifts of what I do. And to know that being crazed, tired, busy, and often annoyed is better than being invisible and hollow. Not to be pampered, but to be needed, wanted and loved. The every day, chaotic, simple, imperfect love of family.