For my Children

I hate Mother’s Day.

I know my children love me, and it’s nice of them to take the time to let me know, but I loathe this day as the pre-ordained time to do it. It’s so forced, so Plasticine a celebration that I can’t accept the sentiment.

When my kids were younger, and I was full-time Mom, all I ever wanted for Mother’s Day was to have the day to myself. And, bless them, my family always accommodated that request. I got to garden, play piano, go to the movies by myself, and Tim made it so I never had to cook or clean.

And now that I’m away from my kids most of the time, the impending holiday sits on me like a guilty weight. I don’t *want* my kids to feel like they have to do something for me this weekend. I don’t want my kids to feel like they HAVE to do something for me at all! I want our relationship to be free and loving and giving, with no expectations on either side except that we will always love each other and always be in each other’s corners when we are needed. We spend time together when we can, but requiring each other’s presence or presents just because some external force says we should just pisses me off.

When my daughter texts me a picture of hyacinths in bloom outside her dorm — THAT is love.

When my son brings home a pound of my favorite coffee beans for us to share — THAT is love.

When my youngest defends me to family members taking pot shots at me in my absence –THAT is love.

I don’t need flowers or candy or a sickeningly sweet fake bullshit card bought because they feel like they have to in the middle of finals or a busy job hunt or preparations for new living arrangements. They have lives to live, and there is ample evidence the rest of the year that they haven’t forgotten me and still feel the bond we made when they were growing up. We catch up when we can, make plans that involve being together, send each other references to inside jokes.

Maybe there will be a day when my nose is out of joint because they didn’t get me a flower-shellacked Mother’s Day card. I’ll encourage them to call their dad in about a month, but I’ll leave it up to him to say whether the day itself of Father’s Day is essential to his understanding of the kids’ appreciation for him.

But kids, for the record, all I want for Mother’s Day is to not have to cook and clean. And by having your own lives, you’ve made that wish an everyday reality, so thank you. I’ll get myself some chocolates and go see a movie. If I talk to you, that’s wonderful. If I don’t, it’s cool. I know you love me.

I don’t need you to prove it on some Sunday in the middle of May.

Frame by Frame

When I talkĀ about my daughter having a disability, I get a lot of sad faces, murmurs of morose sympathy, and sorrowful eyes averted, so as not to look directly at the reality of being disabled.

It’s the last one that I wish I could fix. I don’t care if people have pity, and I would appreciate genuine sympathy, but without taking a good hard look at what it’s like to live with a physical disability, pity and sympathy aren’t genuine, they’re hollow gestures.

In that spirit, I’m going to share a slow-motion example of what happens when my daughter, an adult with a disability, has an “incident.” In our world, it’s fracturing, since that’s what happens with brittle bones, but for other people with disabilities, it might be other incidents; wheelchair breaks down; fever spikes; onset of seizures. The details differ, but how we manage life around those details is pretty constant. If you’ll stick around for the story, and follow this space for a couple of days, you might learn to feel more than sympathy or pity; you might get a greater understanding of what it’s like to be a person with a disability. For a little while, just don’t look away.

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