Everywhere I turn are signs for Mother's Day. "Remember Mom", "Send flowers for Mother's Day", there are countless commercials on TV and radio these days, clamoring for everyone's Mother's Day business. Normally, I'd be anxious about Mother's Day but for different reasons than this year. I am sad and anxious this Mother's Day because it is the first one I will be spending as a single mother. Oh sure, Carli will make me a card or something and her school is having a Mommy and Me Tea Party this Friday but it isn't the same. No one will be shopping for me on Carli's behalf for sappy, heartfelt cards and presents. There won't be any dinners to be taken out to this Sunday for me. I guess what is sticking in my craw is no surprises this year. What ever is done for me this Mother's Day will really be done by me for Mother's Day. I am not feeling sorry for myself, mind you and it isn't about the presents. It is about who is missing to celebrate it with me, Greg, my late husband.
Greg was not a good present giver. This always bothered me. I would lament about Mother's Day, birthdays, Christmas every year. I would hope that one of these times, he would do something really special, that he would go all out and really "wow" me. He never did. My friends would get jewelry, trips to the spa, and surprise weekends away. Not me. I usually got whatever he could pick up last minute or gifts from BJ's Wholesale Club. One year I got a space heater for Christmas. Practical? Yes. Romantic? No. I never let on that I was disappointed. He was very sensitive and I didn't want to hurt his feelings but the lack of planning and forethought always made me feel like I wasn't worth it. It wasn't the intent but it was the result.
We had problems communicating because we needed to feel loved in different ways. I like presents and physical touch. He liked compliments and time spent with him. This was very difficult for me as I didn't think I needed to fawn over him and bring in a marching band in my house whenever he did his quarterly dish duties and getting me to sit down and watch twenty year-old reruns of Magnum P.I. when I had laundry to do and lunches to make was nearly impossible and it made him sad. I didn't see the value in what he wanted. Being the kind of Plain John kind of guy he was, he didn't see the big deal about presents and surprises. He thought I was being silly or materialistic. It wasn't that way for me but I couldn't get him to see it. He didn't see the value either. I often wondered why he wouldn't just do it to make me happy, I am sure he felt the same way. Hindsight being what it is, I spend a lot of time thinking about these things when special days come up now.
I can't beat myself up, it's over. I have often longed for a day when I could just yell "DO OVER!" like when I didn't like the outcome of something when I was a kid. You don't get those as an adult. Life is unfair that way. When I sold my house I had to pack up all of my belongings and what ever was left of Greg's, along with our daughter Carli's prized possessions, most certainly her play kitchen. I was having lots of flash backs about things that I packed. One of those things was a lifetime supply of bath salts and bubble bath courtesy of BJ's Wholesale from my husband for Christmas. That was about all he got me. I was really upset at the time but I didn't let on. Bath products?! Well, I do take a lot of baths in the winter to warm up, but still. I laughed as I packed up what was left of it. I did enjoy it after all. He knew it was something I'd use. He liked to give practical gifts, things that were useful. He just wanted me to use what he'd given me instead of wearing some trinket once or twice and banishing it to the jewelry box never to be seen again. I do that a lot actually. He made fun of all of my handbags and scores of jewelry. I have too much of that stuff and I tire of it easily. He paid attention to my habits. More than I knew. Carli's play kitchen was the first real project of a gift that we gave Carli. Christmas Eve we put it together after she went to bed. No problem we thought, it should take an hour or two at the most. We poured drinks and got busy. As I kept pulling parts out of the box I started to see that the parts were lettered into the triple letters. This was not a good sign. A few drinks and four hours later we were almost done. Alas, one of the last parts was missing drill holes that it needed to finish the job. Greg wanted to put it back in the box and return it but we came too far. "Go get your cordless drill" I demanded. I was so tired, I just wanted it to be over and go to bed. Up from the basement he came with drill and drill bits in hand. He fumbled around with the bits, trying to figure out what one to use. "Just stick the drill bit into the hole the screw is supposed to go into in the other piece of wood and then you'll know what size bit to use", I couldn't believe he hadn't thought of that. "Well, excuse me Bob Villa" he shouted, feeling a little sheepish that his wife had outsmarted him in the Tools department. He did as I said, we completed the kitchen and Carli's Christmas was saved. She loved it then and she still does. Every time I see her play with it, I remember all that it took to put it together.
I gave up on presents and surprises and the last Mother's Day Greg finally got it right. He did get me a practical gift but it was also very meaningful to me. He got me a potted Gerber Daisy plant. He knew I loved them and he wanted me to be able to plant them so I could enjoy them year over year. I cried. I thought it would be wonderful to be able to water my daisies and tell Carli how she and Daddy had given them to me so many years ago. It was the nicest thing he ever got me. It showed me that he was thinking about what I really like and what I would enjoy. Not to mention, he really wanted me to get on that flower bed out in front of the house. Okay, so he had an ulterior motive but it was still really thoughtful. I cherished that plant. I will never forget that Mother's Day. I was my last one with Greg and my most memorable. Thank you for thinking of me, Honey.
There will be new memories on Mother's Day, I know. This one will be hard but they'll get easier, right? What I will do is dress me and my lovely daughter up and go to a nice Mother's Day brunch after church. I might even ask someone to take a picture of us at the table. Maybe a walk on the beach afterwards and call my mom. Then it will just be another Sunday.
Dads, Kids, Significant Others please, make it as special as you can for Mom. She deserves it. You just don't know how many of these you will be celebrating together so treat it like her last, for me and for Mom.
Don't Pray For Me
5 years ago