No one believes my Mother’s Day stories. I wouldn’t either.
My mom and I were not close. I remember cookies and kool-aid as after school snacks. Back in the day, I remember days of driving me and my brother to school when it rained. There were family vacations, and up until I was 11 it was a perfect, everyday normal childhood. Then various weird things happen in life, as they do, and well, Mom had a hard time coping with things. It became this strained relationship of acting like strangers to each other. Then it just became more strange.
But lets skip all of the awkwardness of trying to pick out a Mother’s Day card that captured my true feelings but wouldn’t start an argument. Let’s talk about one of the times…
My Mother Would Not Believe Me
This is a true story. I was an adult. I was married, and I was pregnant. And so,I told my husband that this Mother’s Day would be different, but he did not believe me. It has come to be known as “The Impossible Mother’s Day”.
Mom called, and got right to the point. She knows what she wants for her (unbelievable) Mother’s Day gift. Every year her expectations rose higher and higher. Then one year she would set the bar so high there would be no means to come close. This was that year.
The only way I can describe it is to share how this conversation went down:
The Mother’s Day Wish
Mom: I want the thing that you put in your car that changes traffic lights.
Me: What? What thing?
Mom clarifies that there is some technology that exists that allows the driver to change the lights from red to green.
Me: Where did you hear about this?
Mom: I saw it.
Me: Like, in a store?
Me: Mom, that does not exist.
The Unbelievable, Impossible Mother’s Day Gift
My mom then explained that she saw a car pull up to a red light and it instantly turned green. She insisted it was not a coincidence, so the tech must exist. This back and forth went on for five minutes, until it occurred to me.
Me: Mom, was this car a police car?
She confirmed my suspicion.
Me: Mom….(deep breath), those are for fire trucks, ambulances, police cars…not just normal cars. If it was, everyone would have one and it would defeat the purpose.
I will spare you, but Mom insisted this is what she wanted. She insisted this was the ONLY gift she wanted. If these gadgets are out there, she wanted one.
Me: Mom, I cannot just buy one of these. (Laughs) What do you want me to do, get one off the black market?
Me: I’m not doing that. (Long Pause) Mom? Are you there?
She hung up on me.
Other Unbelievable Requests…
Another time my parents wanted a copier machine for their house. I don’t know why. So they called and explained they wanted the giant, business size copier. I said “mm hmm” knowing that they had absolutely no reason to want a copier.
“And it has to have a coagulator”…they said. My husband had to bite his lip to keep from busting out laughing.
“A Xerox machine that can coagulate.” At this point, I had no idea what to say.
“A collator,” my husband whispered to me.
“Ohhhhhh! You want a collator” I said. Then, “Why?”
“No, a coagulator,”they argued. We have to make a lot of copies.
So do I start with telling them that they live in a raised ranch home, and there was no way to get an industrial size copier through the door, let alone up the stairs. Or do I start with…
“A coagulator separates blood,” I tried to explain.
“No, that’s not right.”
It turns out they wanted a printer for their computer, not a copier. One that could collate papers. And not coagulate blood.
Being a Mother Is Not Easy
Now that I have been through a few circumstances where My Life Changed Overnight, I get it, I guess. Some sort of celebration or validation for the sacrifices, the fears, the unique emotional and physical pain known as motherhood. Looking bad now, I am sadder that we didn’t spend more time together. I wish she had a chance to see my own kids grow up.
This high expectation for celebrating Mother’s Day rubbed off on me for a while. I heard tales of brunches, jewelry, new cars (!) but thought they were a fairy tale. Then one Mother’s Day, I received a scarf from my kids that was the same scarf I bought myself earlier in the week (and the kids were with me). And I was angry.
I told my girls we were going back to the mall to return the scarf so I could exchange it for something else. After the exchange, we were walking out of the mall, and passed by a pet store that recently opened. Every time we walked by, the girls begged to go look at the puppies. I usually didn’t even go into the store. I was a firm believer in rescuing animals (I got 5 cats over my lifetime this way).
This time I went in. My husband was now working from home. The girls were teens and had their own social life. I was traveling 60% of the time. He had been talking about wanting a Bernese Mountain Dog. Too big and they shed, I said. But now, I had locked eyes on this incredible fluffy puppy and knew she was the one for us.
I Instantly Fell In Love
I knew this was my dog. This puppy and I were meant to be together. My kids were in shock as I immediately asked to see her in the little playroom to visit the dogs. The girls kept pointing at other “cuter” dogs (in their opinion). Nope. This was MY DOG.
They said her name was Bernie, and she was Bernedoodle. Bernedoodles are a mix of Poodle and Bernese Mountain Dog. They are hypoallergenic, don’t shed (they didn’t mention the grooming bill), are family friendly, affectionate and playful.
How Much Is That Doggie In the Window?
I asked her price and didn’t blink twice when they quoted the same amount I paid for my first car. In my head, I already named her Molly. I put a deposit down on her (my husband will only find that out if he reads this) and drove home to tell my husband that I had found my Mother’s Day gift, and it was a dog.
An hour later, we bought Molly, a crate, a lease, food, toys and bowls. Like I said, we were not planning on buying a dog. But here I was on Mother’s Day, becoming a Dog Mom.
Unconditional Love on Mother’s Day
Molly is everything I ever wanted. She is unconditional love. She is empathetic. Molly never leaves my side, she sleeps besides me, she follows me from room to room. I say that she is my favorite child. Any hurt I had experienced in my life was healed the moment I saw MY DOG. Yes, I love my kids. They are the best thing that has ever happened to me. But after my mom died, without reconciliation of the misunderstandings, lack of connection, and years of “what if”, Molly came into my life. It was as if she arrived on Mother’s Day to say: I got you. I’ll be beside you, no matter what. To me, that is what I had always wanted.
Mother’s Day Is Different Now
Now I focus on how I am there for my girls. We celebrate our strong relationship. Our acceptance of each other. It’s been another one of the Life Lessons we are going through together. This is the best gift I could ever received is a family that I love so much, and that loves me.