Those of you who know me well understand that I do not do stupid holidays. I abhor Valentines Day, a silly creation that exits entirely for high schoolers to demand roses from their desperate boyfriends and for Hallmark to sell cards. Since I have a child, I am forced to come home on February 14th with a stuffed bear and a box of chocolate but that is as far as I go. Why is every holiday about candy nowadays? Easter used to be about hiding eggs. Now it is about getting a giant basket full of sugar. Ditto with V-Day. Last week Maya's class celebrated Cinco de Mayo with some chips and salsa and a giant pinata full of candy. It was also her half birthday (May 4th) which she insisted on celebrating with cupcakes. Are we supposed to do half birthdays now? Isn't once a year enough?
Matthew and I also celebrated our 7 year anniversary this week, with a cozy, child-free breakfast at one of our favorite local restaurants. French toast and hot coffee, a perfect, stress-free gift. I have plenty of things already, a whole house full. Who needs more stuff? All that effort put into finding the most unique and beautiful piece of glittery jewelry (or the coolest gadget that does what his cellphone already does better) could be used for perfecting armbars instead.
Not that I don't like pretty necklaces. Or dangly earrings. Or sparkly rings.
But despite my bah humbug attitude towards holidays, I like mothers day. And fathers day, for that matter. A day that celebrates the wonderfully rewarding and incredibly difficult job of parenting a small human is one that is worthy of gifts. In my opinion anyway.
My mother was a mommy-mother. Meaning that she didn't just teach me right from wrong and make sure my shoes were tied, but she baked cookies and sang lullabies and told stories and played with my hair while I lay in her lap and watched Sesame Street. She also worked full time as a public school teacher. High school. In the Bronx.
While my father and I often butted heads (too very similar stubborn personalities), my mom and I had a relatively peaceful relationship. This was due more in part to her ability to let things roll off her back in order to keep the peace than anything I did right. When I was bratty and argumentative my father often fought back, the same mistake I catch myself making with my own daughter now. My mom usually just walked away.
Now, years later, my father and I have cultivated a bond based on mutual respect and shared misery. And my mommy has become a grandma, a role which she embodies in every cliched way possible. She gives my daughter too much sugar. She impulse buys toys and children's clothing in every store she goes to. She bakes pies. She lets Maya stay up too late and watch too much TV and use her loud playground voice inside their small Upper Westside apartment. Her, and my father, cuddle Maya and sing to her and read to her and surround her with so much love she is in danger of spontaneously combusting.
It is wonderful. All of it. I wouldn't change a thing.
As we approach this Mothers Day weekend, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be a mommy. For the most part, I adore it. And I don't mean in a carpe diem embrace every moment cause it goes by so fast kind of way. Or a look how cute her scrunched up face is while she is screaming kind of way. Or a how sweet and soft her breath on my face is at 4am when she is finally asleep alongside me and my husband and the dog in a too small Queen sized bed kind of way.
No, when I say I adore being a mom I mean that I could not imagine my life without Maya, and do not want to. I mean that I am proud to put parent on my list of accomplishments, alongside juijitsuka, karate black belt and blogger. I mean that sometimes I look at my daughter and I am full of the kind of awe normally reserved for contemplating the ocean.
I also mean that I love being a mommy to one amazing five year old. And that one is more than enough.
Happy Mothers Day to my own incredible mommy. I love you.
It is quite an adventure, this parenting thing.
I hope I am doing it right.