This is why I don't like Valentine's Day or Mother's Day or any other holiday that encourages a certain type of behavior only one day a year. My mother always told me that when I became a mother my feelings about Mother's Day [hereinafter referred to as MD] would change: wrong.
Maybe it's because of all the church mother-daughter teas or having to sing Faith of our Mothers* (a take off of the hymn Faith of our Fathers) in front of everyone, no less than 10 times, or the overwhelming pressure and expectation of a certain type of behavior. I had to be good and sweet and make a card and not do anything that might upset my mother on her day. I mean, wow, how could a daughter ever be expected to be really good for an ENTIRE day?
Yes, I was what you might call a Brat, with a capital "B."
I don't feel that way about Father's Day, which always infuriated my mom, so I'm thinking that maybe it's a mother-daughter thing; a mother expects more from her daughter on MD and a father expects more from his son on Father's Day. I'm probably over simplifying a tad, but I know for a fact, that my mom doesn't expect even half as much from brother as she does from me. He could give her dead flowers from a cemetery and she would say, "oh, that was so nice of you to pick the flowers yourself! How thoughtful of you!"
Then, to my store bought arrangement, "oh, how nice, did you arrange them yourself?"
"Um, no. I thought the store would do a better job than I could."
"oh. well that's okay."
On MD I always felt that I had to make for all my badness throughout the year, and of course, that was impossible: a) there weren't enough days in the year to make up for all my badness and b) I usually buckled under the pressure and reverted to my old self somewhere between the end of church and before brunch.
Even after being pregnant during MD and my first "real" MD with Spencer, I still didn't feel any differently. In my mind, MD will always be about my mom and I will always be the daughter who can't even manage to pull it together, for my MOTHER, on one day of the year. So I guessing I'm doomed, because it will only get worse when she goes to "a better home awaiting in the sky Lord, in the sky," then it will become Katie's Guilt Day.
In case you missed the reference, those are the lyrics in "Will the Circle Be Unbroken," an old hymn by Ada Habershon about the narrator's mother dying. There are many covers of it, but my mom's favorite version is by June Carter Cash and Family.
[Side note, my Mema and June Carter Cash were best friends back when she was still June Carter. They went to the same high school when The Carter Family, "The First Family of Country Music," began performing on a Richmond radio show.]
See, it's not even MD and I'm quoting hymns and linking to June Carter Cash, I am a good daughter!
Well, this post kinda got away from me- I can't help it though, when I start thinking about all those MD's I just can't stop. It's like I'm compelled to recall each one in it's entirety, with a feeling of "I really can't believe I attended 23 Mother-Daughter Teas, wearing frou-frou dresses (until I pitched a fit at age 12 and put a stop to anything that had crinoline under the skirt or a satin bow at the waist) , using actual lumps of sugar to sweeten my tea, and hours upon hours of testimonies from daughters to their mothers, thanking them for everything under the sun. Oh, and then there's guilt, the inescapable guilt I feel each time I think about how my mom must have felt on all those MDs.
My best and forever friend Sara, the pastor's daughter, and I would try and become invisible in our seats. We both knew our mothers wanted us to stand up and profess our undying love and gratitude for their years of sacrifice, service, and making sure we were raised in a family where the Lord was the center of everything. They were always disappointed.
It was a lot worse for her than for me, because she was the First Daughter of the Church. Each year her mother would stand and speak about how hard she tried to be a good a mother to Sara, her sadness over areas in which she thought she failed her only daughter, and the hope that one day she would appreciate being raised by a mother who faithfully served the Lord, even if it meant Sara would have a more difficult earthly life.
As soon as she would sit down, all eyes turned to Sara, waiting for her to stand up and reciprocate. THE PRESSURE! At the end of this sharing time, the person leading it would say "Is there anybody else who would like to share something about their mother?
If no one stood up, she would say, "It doesn't have to be long, all any mother wants to hear from her daughter is that she loves her!"
Still, all eyes on Sara, (and me, as I always sat beside her,) waiting for her to stand up. Eventually it would become something straight out of Ferris Bueller's, with "Anyone?"
Finally, at the tea the year Sara graduated from college, she stood up and said something! I can't remember what she said because I knew this meant I would have to go next- I would have to get up and speak. THE PRESSURE. She sat down and I stood up and spoke. I don't know what I said, I just remember the overwhelming feeling of relief I felt when I sat down- I would never have to do that again!
I don't think it's any coincidence that that was the last year we had the Mother Daughter Tea. Which then makes me think that if we had just bitten the bullet and publicly lauded other mothers years earlier, we could have possibly avoided years of those teas.
See, MD, a topic where I can go on and on and on! I guess my point in all of this is that maybe I should be a little more mindful of awareness days/weeks and "holidays" like MD. Maybe if I tried to actively participate in them I could actually learn something. So this week, I'm going celebrate women's self-empowerment! Even if I'm not feeling all that self-empowered at the moment, it's something that I eventually hope to be.
Anyone have any good ideas on how I can celebrate Self-Empowerment Week? Something that would make me feel powerful in my womanly ways? I read on one site that you should send yourself flowers, but that just sounds sad to me. Besides, sending yourself flowers should only be done, a la Clueless. If there are any ideas out there, that don't involve things that men normally do for women- thus highlighting the fact that I don't have one, let me know!
*Lyrics to Faith of Our Mothers