mother's day“So, what are you getting me for Mother’s Day?”

I should have known better than to have asked. I shouldn’t have asked. But I did.

Mother’s Day, 2008 was a big weekend for our family. Really big. My oldest was turning eight that weekend. He was also making his First Holy Communion on Sunday morning (Mother’s Day). His two younger brothers were getting baptized Sunday afternoon. Since my mother, my mother-in-law, her husband and her sister were going to be staying at our house to attend the First Communion, I thought I might as well get the biggest bang for my buck by coordinating the baptisms for the same weekend. It sounded reasonable at the time.

I spent the week cleaning the house to prep for our out-of-town guests, planning the meal, ordering the cake, working part-time, helping with homework, shuttling the kids to/from school and preschool, and taking my middle son to an emergency trip to the doctor for what the preschool director was convinced was pink eye (only to be told it was just severe allergies – curse you, Spring-time pollen!). Yep, just another beautiful week in the neighborhood for me. Oh, and I purchased cards and gifts for both moms and, since my husband’s aunt doesn’t have any children of her own, a “like a mom” Mother’s Day card and gift for her. I would say I went the extra mile for everyone that weekend. And I would say my “What are you getting me for Mother’s Day?” question was quite reasonable.

What wasn’t reasonable? My husband’s response. My heart rate quickens still, as I type this, nearly four years later. My stomach turns, my shoulder kinks, my heart hurts. My husband responded to my question with “Nothing. You’re not my mother.” NOT YOUR MOTHER? No, I’m not your mother. But I’m the mother of YOUR children, you inconsiderate bastard, you. I’m like a mother to you since I launder your clothes, cook most of your meals, track down your lost keys/cellphone/shoes, schedule your doctor and dentist appointments, reschedule your dentist appointments when you have a conflict, make sure your car is serviced, pay the household bills…you know, all the things a mother does?

“You’re not my mother.” No, no I’m not. And you know what else? Your mother is not my mother either. So from now on, she is your responsibility. I’m not buying her a Mother’s Day card. I’m not buying her a birthday card or gift, either. ‘Cause, you know, she’s not my mother. Two can play this game, mister. And I’m a competitive bitch when it comes to games. GAME ON, jackass!

I used to feel guilty about no longer buying my mother-in-law a Mother’s Day card or birthday gift. Because did I mention I’m also a bit passive aggressive? I didn’t tell my husband I quit buying the cards and gifts for his mother. Not my problem, I say. But, I felt guilty. Then, finally, this year, I gave up guilt for Lent. I started letting guilt go. And it dawned on me. Why should I feel guilty? She raised him, not me. She taught him the values and ideals that she felt was important. If motherhood isn’t important to him, that’s not my problem, it’s hers. And I feel so much better now.

I still hate Mother’s Day though. Every time I see some stupid, sappy Mother’s Day commercial, those words echo in my head. “You’re not my mother.” No, thank God I’m not, because if you were my kid, I would have raised you better than that.

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(photo: esquire.com)