There are 72 hours till Mother’s Day, and I’m running through midtown Toronto looking for seeds.
Not just any seeds. “Basil, mama,” came the edict from my oldest boy. “I want to plant basil. And sunflowers.” Right. No problem.
Only, it seems there aren’t any basil seeds in Toronto. Canadian Tire, nope. Home Depot, zilch. I even asked the convenience store lady to check her stockroom to see if there was anything that hadn’t germinated yet. I’m not allowed back in her store.
Sunflowers are another challenge. Apparently there’s no demand for flowers that reach six feet tall in a city choked by condos. But my kid wants great, flowering behemoths on the tiny Juliet balcony of our two-bedroom rental.
Did I mention there are three more days till Mother’s Day?
It doesn’t matter. The day will be spent making everyone pancakes while slurping lukewarm coffee, opening handmade cards that I helped create, then carrying on, business as usual. Traditionally, there’s a meltdown around 3-ish. This year, the boys are two and five, so it’s anyone’s game.
I know the score. I don’t expect anything super special on Mother’s Day. We don’t go out to a restaurant because, frankly, I don’t hate myself that much. “Mother’s Day” is a misnomer, kind of like “work/life balance” and “equal pay”. In my home, it’s a vague, esoteric term that acknowledges the woman who does roughly 90% of the work for 10% of the credit.
Here’s the weird part. I don’t care. No one “Moms” for the glory. It’s the most thankless, exhausting, frustrating, maddening, rewarding job in the world. Who willingly subjects themselves to miniature despots and tiny tyrants without the promise of a paycheque or, at the very least, vacation pay? Moms do it willingly, joyfully, sometimes more than once. If a grown-up asked me to make him scrambled eggs, then promptly threw them on the floor like I was trying to kill him, I might just reach for a baseball bat. “Momming” is different than loving. Of course I love my kids. That’s why they’re still living here.
Mother’s Day is less about me, and more about what I represent to my kids, beyond “the help” or the ATM. I am their safe place, their unconditional love and their biggest cheerleader. Every day I wake up with anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. And every day I push past it and keep my kids happy, healthy and loved. I “Mom” pretty hard.
So Nathan wants basil and sunflower seeds. He wants to put his hands in the dirt and dig and water something and watch it grow. He wants to hold “real alive” worms in his hands and tell me how they dig tunnels under the ground so the plants can thrive. So this weekend, he’ll plant and I’ll watch him grow. What a great Mother’s Day present.