Dear Loving Partner,
Don't take me to brunch for Mother's Day. Don't buy me flowers or chocolate. You're allowed to make me breakfast in bed, but then: Kindly disappear. Leave me to linger at the edge of sleep for as long or as briefly as I want.
If you love me, take my child away and leave me in peace. Let me stare out the window and read a book in my Wonder Woman pajamas with the dog on my lap and a big black hair growing out of my top lip. Or send me off to a matinee with the girls, followed by happy hour, dinner and more drinks after that.
Do it all without the slightest implication of guilt. Send a cab to pick me up from the gray, gravel parking lot outside Santa's Pub at closing time. And then — depending on my mood — tuck me into bed, or fuck me silly before leaving me alone to sleep luxuriously on freshly washed sheets.
I promise to get up and be a good mama in the morning. I love this family, after all. You and our little guy bring me puddles of blissful heartache every day. Whether from loving him too much and watching him sleep with tears in my eyes, or worrying myself apoplectic when you choke and burn your way through daily spring-induced allergy attacks, you people cripple me.
My mind is forever spinning with grocery lists, work calendars, bank balances, fingernail trimming, car maintenance, wellness check-ups and every other mundane management concern of motherhood. There is no resting of the mind or heart; I had no idea how much empty afternoons meant until they were gone. I stare like a little girl enamored with a tall, glamorous woman as childless couples wander down the street in front of our house, taking for granted their aimless freedom. I miss it.
I confess to being selfish. I haven't exactly martyred myself for motherhood: I take the time I need for work and friends, and we have a babysitter who lets me off the hook. I don't pretend to spend my days throwing my formerly single self on a stake for you beautiful, needy people.
But Mother's Day should be a full-blown celebration of my selfishness, don't you think? Burning Man meets Mad Men seems appropriate.
I don't really care what you did for your mom back in 1988, '89 or '91 on Mother's Day. This isn't about tradition. I don't need — or want — public acknowledgement of my dedication to you and the hilarious, adorable, annoying miniature human in the house. I don't want cards or gifts ... unless, of course, the miniature man made them for me with his own clumsy little hands.
Mother's Day should be a day of peace, of glorious, selfish nothingness. A day when we moms get to set aside all concerns about everybody else's endless requests and spend the day whiling away the minutes in whatever fashion we choose. Might I suggest stretching out on the floor, head on the dog bed with toenails drying, Michael Franti crooning in the background, a gluten-free cupcake and a vodka martini, perhaps?
Mother's Day should be a day when I get to pretend I'm not a mother at all.
But don't get too comfy. Don't count on me being gone for long. I'll rise up the following day, itching to hold my son in my lap, lean back on your shoulder, and watch the same episode of Thomas the Tank Engine for the 87th time. The tears will come again when the little man's tiny voice calls out for Mama, and no one else will do. The automated, ongoing family calendar will upload again, directly to my frontal lobe. Worry not. All will run again. The not-so-well-oiled machine we have going here will click and whirr back to life.
Just give me this. One day. Leave. I love you, but leave me alone.
Thank you, and Happy Mother's Day to me.