Holidays are triggers for me. Not all holidays- just the important ones. ( read: ones that have something to do with me possibly receiving gifts or surprises.) So I'm good on Presidents Day, Memorial Day, and the 4th of July, I mean who doesn't love freedom and a good BBQ? But on or around my birthday, anniversary, Mother's Day or Christmas- keep your distance. Unless you want a front row seat to "The Crazy Show" show starring Crazy McCrazyton-yours truly. Then by all means, come celebrate with me and my family!
This Mother's Day you would have found me on our apartment building's shared roof deck drinking a mimosa and reading the New York Times. Doesn't that sound like a lovely Mother's Day treat? Something many Moms would love to do! But the events leading there were anything but special and really, a shared roof deck is not where one should be when feeling unloved and self-pitying.
So how did I find myself on the roof drinking alone at 11 a.m., you ask?
As co-owner of a lifestyle store in my neighborhood, my business partner and I have spent the better part of a month marketing Mother's Day. I'd spent the week leading up to Mother's Day ringing up sale after sale of thoughtful gifts for good 'ol Mom. And before this becomes a diatribe about how my husband didn't get me a gift or isn't thoughtful, I want to just put that notion to rest. He is incredibly generous and thoughtful every single day. (Guys, he makes me an iced latte EVERY morning.) But when it comes to holidays, he is...inconsistent. So when you take me: a little moody and particularly sensitive on holidays + him: wildly spontaneous and super busy and a terrible time manager, you get: EXPLOSION of missed expectations. I try to brush it off and tell myself this isn't even a real holiday and I am loved and blessed and other nonsense, but I just wanted a surprise, ok??? Something that tells me I don't pin l excessively for nothing. I mean. It should be SO easy to find me a gift. Just look on my "ready to wear" board. Or the not at all subtle "wishful thinking" board if you really want to take my breath away.
But to stop there and think this is really about my husband surprising me- through a gift or grand gesture or even just undivided attention (maybe no soccer match just. this. one. Sunday), would be too easy. There's some emotional heavy lifting that needs to be done here and frankly, I am too exhausted to do that work. I suspect my upbringing is part of it. I imagine it's in part because of the duality of Mother's Day (for YOUR Mom and yourself if you have kids — not to mention a Mother in Law if you are married.) And this is if you are lucky enough to still have a living Mother and Mother in Law, which I am. But I will still complain! Gift giving is my love language and if I dare say..kind of my gift. I am pretty good at it. So because I express love that way, I want to receive it that way as well. I don't hold that standard for everyone-just my husband, lucky guy. All of these individual reasons combine to create a Perfect Storm on holidays to where I have decided I will just preemptively disappear on these days. I need a plan. I need a minute by minute itinerary so full that it leaves no room for despair, disappointment or self examination.
You might be thinking, "What YOU need is a healthy dose of get over yourself, you selfish, materialistic, covetous narcissist!" And you would be right. The very worst part of my bad behavior is how keenly aware of it I am. My need for grace is apparent, of this I am sure. I know this to be true every single day. On good days when the kids aren't fighting and I get a healthy dinner on the table, and my husband and I share a laugh and the city looks so amazing I just have to stop and take it all in. (and let's be honest, probably Instagram it) And on the bad days when the kids WHINE and we eat overpriced, under-nutritious take out, and my husband and I take each other for granted and the city kicks my ass- for the 17th time that DAY, I know it is true then as well. But on Holidays, I can't remember. I can't remember that this day too, shall pass, that I have so very much to be grateful for, that most Holidays we celebrate are products of excessive consumerism and for the love of GOD, GOD loves us all! Shouldn't that be enough?!?
It really should be. But until I can conduct myself in a manner that would bear witness to that fact, you will find me— or rather, you WON'T find me, hiding out on Holidays until it's safe to come out.