I’ve never felt particularly attached to Mother’s Day. I ‘m not overtly opposed to it as a “Hallmark holiday,” the way some people are, but I just never take it very seriously. When I was growing up, my parents paid very little attention to holidays like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day; my earliest memories of celebrating either of those holidays was one year when June was a particularly hot month and my older sister decided the best way to honor Dad was for the three daughters to choreograph a swim show in his honor. This became yearly tradition, both the part in which the three of us planned out and performed our water ballet and the part in which my father said “The best Father’s Day gift would be not to have to watch a swim show.” To this day, my sister calls me a few days before Father’s Day from wherever she happens to be – an academic retreat in Italy, this particular year – to ask if I’m done choreographing our show yet. (My sister also reminds me periodically of her expectation that I will help her choreograph a swim show for Independence Day, Labor Day, and the occasional unseasonably warm Columbus Day.)
This past Sunday, there were no swim shows, but we did have a simple brunch with my parents in their new screen house, which is just about the right size to hold the four of us, the two of them, and the dog. (Admittedly, we all would have fit even better without the dog, but I didn’t want to spend the remainder of Mother’s Day searching for her in the woods. Or removing ticks from her fur.)
And somehow it just felt festive in unusual ways, far different from the usual bouquets-and-breakfast-in-bed (neither of which have I ever actually experienced on Mother’s Day, but that’s what I’ve seen on TV commercials). From Rick, I received the gift I most wanted on that particular day: he did a spring tune-up on all four of our bikes, didn’t complain about the task, didn’t ask me for any help, and cleaned the whole project up when he was done. From Holly, a homemade necklace in a homemade jewelry box. From Tim, plenty of good cheer and affection.
At Tim’s afternoon baseball game, all the mothers wished each other a happy Mother’s Day, and all the fathers who were present wished us one as well. At the restaurant where we ate with my in-laws after the game, there were complimentary chocolate-dipped strawberries served after dinner “in honor of mothers.” There was even a balloon sculpture artist at the restaurant who was specifically targeting the mothers in the room for his patter and antics; mercifully, some very swift bill-paying by Rick enabled us to escape before he reached our table.
Mother’s Day still isn’t high on my list of important holidays, but this year it was more fun than I remembered, with baseball and strawberries and bike tune-ups done without asking. Too cold for swim shows this year, I’m afraid. But I suppose with the current rate of global warming, it’s not out of the question for next.