Another Mother’s Day has come and gone and the Internet is littered with women griping about how disappointed they are with their families’ celebration of their Amazing Motherhood. The eternal conflict still rages: Is the holiday a Hallmark Holiday, and thus a despised marketing ploy or the deserved reward after devoting some or all of one’s life to her children?
I say, “Neither.”
Full disclosure: my children independently arranged for a lovely lunch and get-together on the 12th. But it wasn’t necessary, because…
Kids, at no point do you need to try to estimate the amount of effort I have invested in you and try to pour it back in some sort of gratitude ceremony for Mother’s Day.
You owe me nothing. You didn’t ask to be born. It was my conscious decision to bring you into the world.
The whole motherhood deal? It’s not some favor I extended to you. When I was planning to be pregnant, I didn’t even know you.
Once I had given birth, I knew that I was the one who owed you, the kid who was just standing around minding your own business wherever it is that kids stand around waiting to be born and then you got picked up and unceremoniously shoved into my life. I knew I owed you everything you needed and some of the stuff you wanted, and if providing that meant that I had to lose some sleep or a vacation to England or whatever, well, I knew the risks. Anything I sacrificed or exerted or spent in service to raising you was actually an installment payment to my selfish wish just to have you.
So if anything, Mother’s Day is really about you each year. You are the realization of the best thing I ever did for myself. I look at you and your siblings and see how smart and funny and interesting and wonderful you are and I cannot believe how lucky I was, and still am. I should run out and buy myself a gift, because having you was the smartest idea I’ve ever had. Every time I got up with you in the middle of the night, or sat through a softball game, or stayed up late helping you with a social studies project, was in service to the debt I owe you.
If anyone owes me on Mother’s Day, it’s your dad. He wanted you very much (or at least the concept of you, since we had no idea we’d have you, and if we had known, we would have wanted you even more) and I was the one who put together the arts and crafts project, as it were. So the way I figure it, I could still hold him up for all that time I spent gluing all those popsicle sticks together, so to speak. (In case you were counting, I spent three solid years on “craft projects” for your dad).
The time you spend with me now is just icing on a wonderful cake.
Your dad? He can get me that trip to England (and a whole bunch of popsicle sticks). You? Just by being you, just by being here, you have given me everything I ever wanted.
But I really loved lunch. And I love you.
• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Elizabeth Evans can be reached at email@example.com.