I remember asking my parents as a young child when Kids’ Day was. I knew we had special days set aside to celebrate mom and dad on so it only made sense they would want an occasion to recognize this magical, joyous creature they had brought into the world.
They replied with an eye roll (that they probably thought was discreet) and an, “Every day is kids’ day.”
Even as a naïve nine-year old, I knew I should be a bit offended by this proclamation. I have come to suspect that the parents of our day were given some sort of manual with snarky answers to these ridiculous questions, because I’ve told this story a few times and every friend who ever asked the same question got an identical response.
Twenty-some years later, I am on the other side of the breakfast-in-bed tray and I’ve of course, come to the same conclusion: every day is Kids’ Day. Even Mother’s Day. It may be cleverly disguised behind a wheel of brie and a mimosa, but all the basic signs are there.
Sleep in? Ha! Those Eggs Benedict arrive at the unholy hour of 6:15 a.m.
Five minutes alone in the bathroom? Unlikely. Because my pre-potty training two-year old thinks every washroom occasion is a public one worth acknowledging with an audience, commentary and applause.
If I am in the same building, I will inevitably be crawled on, wiped on and cried on.
Even in the short time I’ve spent here, trying to collect my thoughts on this occasion, my four-year old, who was put to bed 18 37 54 long minutes ago has called to me because:
- She had to poop.
- She wanted a wet washcloth for something in her eye, but it was really so she could wash the balloon I bought her earlier in the day.
- She needed “fresh underwears” because she spilled balloon bathwater on her current ones.
- She popped the balloon. And then sobbed at the thought of it in the garbage. There is some serious mourning going on upstairs right now. Not even the promise of keeping that sad, deflated piece of latex waiting at her breakfast spot overnight is enough to console her.
- We had to hold a phone intervention between my mom and her granddaughter in the hopes it would buy all of us some sleep tonight. At some point, as she explains in between gulps to my mom about her unexpected and tragic loss, I have an epiphany. The writer of the song 99 Red Balloons had 98 back-ups in case this exact event occurred. Genius.
And this is how my Mother’s Day will sound, only with more alcohol and a cute card.
My perception of the day was largely shaped by idyllic prime-time celebrations. I’m pretty sure Claire Huxtable’s children fanned her with palm leaves and spoke in hushed tones on this most cherished of occasions.
While I do remember my brother and I making our mom some adorable, baked play-dough hearts and spilling the contents of my change purse on a K-Mart counter so I could buy her a mug that played You Are My Sunshine (which she still has, even though it has long since ceased to sing a tune), I realize now that she may have wanted to just pee without the audience for that one day in May.
But maybe I’m sitting here, having my second epiphany. As much as the day is meant to celebrate me as a mother, it’s less about my interpretation of what the day should be like and more about how my children choose to show me they love me and honour me. Even if that does mean asking me to officiate an impromptu wake for a one-dollar McHappy Day balloon. There is no one else they’d rather have do the job of mothering them. And if I’m honest, there’s no one I’d rather spend the day with either. Not even Channing Tatum.
(Okay, maybe Channing Tatum)