Finding Joy on Mother’s Day

There has to be a formula for the perfect gift. In this formula the level of delight would be equal to the level of expectations in the recipient, added to extent of advance planning, divided by whether the recipient had any clue that something was being planned. Or something like that. Unfortunately I’m not enough of a math geek to come up with a workable formula. I’ll bet the XKCD guy could though.

The point I’m getting at here is that Howard totally managed it this year. I was all set to dodge Mother’s Day. I was going to pretend it out of existence (except for making sure I did something for my own mother.) I even stated my desire to skip it to a friend a week ago. This desire stems from the fact that so much of Mother’s Day revolves around guilt. From kids hissing at each other not to do that because it’s Mother’s Day, to Howard feeling bad because he didn’t do enough, to me feeling bad listening to glowing descriptions of things that other mothers accomplish and I don’t manage to do. Some years Mother’s Day is all about guilt, stress, and unfulfilled expectations. So I wanted to skip it.

But then the little projects began trickling in. Patch made a card and a pot at school. He even sat down with me and explained why he chose all the colors he did because he thought I would like them. Gleek made a card filled with coupons. (These were hilarious. They are supposed to be coupons for things like a free chore, or a smile, or a hug. All of Gleek’s said things like “good for one mother/daughter date” “Good for one trip to buy gelato, we can bring other people.” She isn’t angling for treats, not really. She’s trying to give the gifts she would like to receive while being oblivious that she is creating opportunities for me to buy things for her.) Patch also bought me a card. Or rather we were at the store together and he saw a card. “I want to give you that for Mother’s Day.” So I bought it for him, handed it to him, and a couple days later he gave it to me because he didn’t want to wait anymore. Kiki brought home a bookend she made in her ceramics class. It is a garden wall with flowers that she obviously started making months ago to have it complete now. Link has been abundant in handing out hugs.

All of that came to me in this last week, prior to the actual holiday. It was enough. I was glad and felt plenty appreciated. I was feeling much more mellow about the official day. But I came downstairs and there were flowers blooming on the kitchen counter. Howard bought them a week ago, kept them at Dragon’s Keep, and smuggled them into the house last night. I was happy. It was plenty. But then Howard had Gleek and Patch deliver the earrings and necklace that I had admired at Penguicon and not purchased for myself. Howard has a hard time hiding that kind of thing from me. I’m usually pretty observant. But this time I had no suspicion at all.

The jewelry is beautiful and I’m going to love having it for years. But far more important is the solid evidence that Howard has been thinking about me and planning to surprise me for more than a week. He carefully thought through what I would like and tried to provide it. They all did. It has been a truly wonderful Mother’s Day for me.