Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mothers Day

Having lived in Israel for 16 years this June, I have lost touch with the American holiday calendar.  One thing I know for sure, based upon the onslaught of spam emails I have received, Mothers Day will take place some time this month;  "Make your Mom feel special," "Get your mother _____ to show her how much you love her," etc.

Perhaps part of my recent bad mood can be attributed to the distinct lack of recognition I feel as a mother.  Sure,  I adjust the spine and help feel better, because that is my job,.  I take care of my daughter the best way I know how, because I have specifically chosen to bring her into the world and give her the best opportunity to fulfill her potential.

I have no time for me.

But who recognizes my achievement as a parent?  Raphaela's grandparents and extended family barely know her, and certainly don't visit us often enough to appreciate the smaller details of our lives.  I know my daughter since she started to grow inside me and thank G-d so far [pthoo pthoo pthoo] she displays remarkable beauty of character.

Who enjoys Raphaela's accomplishments the way I do?  Who tells me that I look nice in a particular outfit?  Who encourages me to exercise more often, to take care of myself? No one.  The motivation and compliments come from inside me, or from no where.  Who will send me a Mothers Day card or bring me flowers, or give me a day at the spa?  Your guess is as good as mine.

 I recently spoke with someone, an older man who expressed selfish indignation because he believed that he did not receive his due, "the return on his investment" from his children.  In my limited experience on this earth, I explained to him that the parent-child contract offers no guarantee of recognition or graciousness, that he may have to wait a long time or forever for his kids to realize the sacrifice that every parent makes, and the undefinable infinite unconditional love that we carry for our family.

On an existential level do I need the "Mother of the Year" award?  No, but it is comforting and helpful and most human to receive occasional praise and validation from someone on the outside looking in.  I think that this rings true for any mother, single or otherwise.

1 comment:

Doc said...

It's true, I know that deep down Raphaela loves and appreciates me. Yet, I feel like if there were some other parent/adult in my life, some person who knew me and Raphaela (like a family member) and who could objectively say to me, "Watching from here, you have done a good job so far, you are a good mother." It would mean something different and just as comforting to me.