This is the first Mother’s Day card that my son made for me on my first Mother’s Day as a mother, a day that I had long awaited with rose-colored glasses:
The card accurately sums up his confusion and the resultant catastrophic day that we had. A rabid squirrel on heroin would have been sedate in comparison to the flipped out mess that bore some resemblance to a six-year-old boy. Yes, the card says, “Ragin.”
Like so much else that first year as a new family, we didn’t see it coming. How could we not have, I wonder in retrospect? I was his twelfth mother. Any idiot could have guessed that the day would not be at all Hallmark. Happy Mother’s Day would be a loaded concept for a child with his background—loaded like a cannon stuffed with Spagghettios; light the fuse and you’ve got yourself a big ole mess amidst the chaos, usually with a dog wolfing it all down just to upchuck it later in your shoe closet.
My eyes were officially opened. How horrible a day must it be for half a million foster kids in this country? Or for those who had lost their mothers, perhaps too young or tragically? Or, like me, who had tried for years without success to become a mother? Or for mothers whose child had died? Or, perhaps most of all, for the mothers who couldn’t mother, like the one whose biological son now makes Mother’s Day cards for me?
We had been told during our foster-adopt certification training courses that there are no orphans in this country in foster care. None? That’s right. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Extended family members step up for orphans. Even if that’s an exaggeration, suffice it to say that a majority of kids in foster care have living parents who are unavailable to them. The best case scenario for foster care is that it’s a temporary arrangement with the goal of helping to reunify the biological family. Mother’s Day must be intensely baffling for those kids.
So Mother’s Day, now that I’m finally a mother, is a melancholy day.
Mother’s Day reminds me of all that my son has so unfairly lost, and all of the confusion that he continues to wrestle with. Mother’s Day also reminds me of my own mother, who deserves a good Mother’s Day from a daughter who is as wonderful and attentive to her as she was to her own mother, which I, unfortunately, am not. She deserves better (Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!).
Last year the Little Monster made me a card at school, and it hangs on my door. He wrote this:
helping, cooks, cleans,
drives, cleans, smart & strong, talintide,
Always there for me.
I thought that perhaps we’d finally made progress and he had made some peace with Mother’s Day.
Then the school principal called the next day. School principals don’t call to let you know that all is going well. No dodged bullet there.
This year, the Little Monster gave me my Mother’s Day present a couple of weeks ago, a beaded bracelet he made during Arts in the Schools day at his amazing elementary school. He couldn’t wait for Mother’s Day to give it to me. I have to say, objectively speaking, that it is gorgeously crafted and displays his undeniable talent.
Just as well that he gave me the present early. I was also already contacted this week by the Vice Principal. So he got a head start on the whole shebang this year.
Notice that the Little Monster got “cleans” into last year’s card twice. I guess I clean a lot (you’d never know it to look at my house). How nice that he notices!
So, since this mother is so good at cleaning, perhaps I’ll just sweep Mother’s Day under the rug.
Although the flowers I just got are awfully nice.
The Strangler Fig: Stories by Jennifer D. Munro
Now on Kindle at Amazon.com
Six sensual, darkly fantastic tales that reimagine classics such as Dorian Gray, Helen of Troy, and The Yellow Wallpaper. The Erotica Writer’s Husband & Other Stories author turns to a darker eros with her new collection of haunting and magical tales, which have appeared in various fantasy, horror, and literary anthologies. About 100 pages.
From New Orleans to Mexico to ancient Hawaii: An obsessed paparazzo stalks his subject–a famous singer whose photos morph but face remains unchanged. An unborn triplet haunts and taunts its mother for the choice she made. An infertile woman seeks to learn the language of the dead baby she continues to carry.
Surreal, slipstream, supernatural stories, in which fertility and infertility take a stranglehold on possessed minds. Collected from the pages of Best of Crossed Genres [Year One]: Fantasy & Science Fiction with a Twist; Thou Shalt Not: Stories of Dark Crime and Horror; the South Dakota Review; Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica; and others.
Cover image courtesy of Rhonda “Shellbelle” Renee © 2009, ShellbellesTikiHut.com