alexandra alger

ABC

Feeling the power on Mother’s Day

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May is finally here, and right along with it, Mother’s Day. I don’t want to care about it. It seems silly to care when my children are grown. Some people–many people–feel that Mother’s Day celebrates mothers of every age, but I can’t help feeling Mother’s Day properly belongs to those with young children, who need that one day to sleep in and receive, queen-like, extra hugs and hand-made cards from the grateful offspring, and with any luck, a short break from parental responsibilities. Of course this is only possible for those with partners who will uphold the unspoken rules of Mother’s Day, which fall under one general theme: One shall please Her.

My own mother, who is nearly 80, has become stunning indifferent to the rituals of the holiday. This year, when I asked if she wanted to go out for a MD lunch, she said, “When is it?” (MD, that is.) At her age, after something like 55 Mother’s Days, it might get old.

I’ve lived through half as many, and it’s not old for me yet. Nope. Not when on Mother’s Day, I get to call the shots and no one complains, argues or disagrees. It’s fantastic. Every other day of the year, I have to negotiate, wheedle and compromise. On MD, everything I say goes. Everything! Yes, we’re going to that museum. Yes, we’re going to the Italian place that only I love. The dishes? I’m not cleaning them. And I don’t feel guilty about it.

How can I surrender all this?

A better question might be, why don’t I have it more than one day a year? Why couldn’t there be days like MD—on a regular basis? Now that the kids are grown and my husband, Dan, and I have much more time to ourselves, we could take turns allowing each other free rein to make decisions on how we spend free time.

Would he go for that? It’s funny, I have no idea if he feels about Father’s Day the way I do about Mother’s Day. I like to think he finds FD pretty special, given that yours truly makes sure the day stays on track (reminding the offspring to buy FD cards, remembering to ask, “What do you want to do on Father’ Day?” well in advance of the need to plan meals, etc.). But how could he not be pumped if I said, “How about one Saturday we do everything you want to do, and on another Saturday we do everything I want to do?”

This could lead to some far more interesting Saturdays than cleaning out the attic or catching up on paperwork. Though it may mean I have to accompany him to the racetrack. He’s developed an interest in racing cars.  I’d be bored within minutes, probably. But I  should watch him, one of these days. I should share with him this new passion. That’s fair and right. What would I make him do that he might not do on his own?  He’s not good at sitting still, so possibly, spending an afternoon reading. Ha! I smile comes to my face, thinking of Dan resignedly picking up his book and settling down for a quiet afternoon. Not to suggest he doesn’t like to read–he does. But he doesn’t often give himself time to sink into a book. Of course, we wouldn’t have to spend every minute together during these “yours” and “my” Saturdays. I could give him a dispensation to do something else–go biking. Great! Since I’m still in control on “my” Saturday, I would take pleasure in giving him leave to do what he wants to do–while I’m doing what I want to do. I can’t wait to broach this idea with him!

Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to a MD dinner, prepared by Dan and the two kids. I’m doing the planning and probably the shopping, though come to think of it, couldn’t they do that, too? I may not be able to resist helping make dinner—it’s so hard to let go!—but I will not clean up. I will luxuriate in standing by and watching…or no, no—going upstairs and not watching.

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