My mom knows that she ruined us, don’t worry. This is not news to her. Actually, she seems fine with it and whenever we bring up something and blame mom, the woman just smiles and laughs, “sorry.”
How exactly did she ruin us? I’ll give you an example. Let’s take, oh, I don’t know, Valentine’s Day!
So every year for as long as I can remember, on Valentine’s morning we woke up and found red and pink sprinkle donuts set out in the center of the table. A glorious tower of deep-fried sugar atop a red plate that read ‘You Are Special Today.’ (That plate was put out for each of our Birthdays as well, but I don’t have it in me to explain how my mother ruined birthdays not only for her children, but for her children’s significant others…) So, Valentine’s Day.
There was also a little something at our place settings at the table, a little chocolate or Pez or something small, a token of our mother’s love. In our lunches we would find a pack of Sweethearts along with a napkin that mom had drawn a heart on and wrote I Love You in the middle. Dinner on Valentine’s was always homemade heart-shaped pizza (before everyone was doing it), some sort of red soda and for dessert? Heart shaped cake. I would drift off to sleep most Valentine’s Day in a happy sugary coma.
Flash forward a handful of years, and these holidays, Valentine’s Day and the like, suck.
Not because of the commercial-ism of them, but because my mom did them so damn well that it takes an awful lot of creativity and planning to reach the bar our mother set. And much to the dismay of others, aka the spouses of my sister, my brother and I, are left trying to hold us aloft in the lifestyle with which we were trained to be accustomed to. Little do they know or comprehend the extent of ‘love’ that we were entrenched in throughout our entire childhood lives.
But entrenched we were and when we moved away from home, these holidays would come around and we found that we expected that kind of loving attention from others. We yearned for it. And a card and a kiss wasn’t going to cut it. We needed pomp and circumstance.
Which is why she still sends us all Valentine’s!
Well, we now all three have our own households. I think about these traditions and then I look at my kid and think perhaps I won’t build up the holidays as much as my mom did. I’ll skip a few, you know, ground hogs day and Labor day. I’ll ready said child for a future where a card and a box of candy is enough.
Today, I dusted off the old red “you are special today” plate mom made for our family. I found the heart-shaped cake pans and I have enough flour for pizza. Not to mention I may already have the little something’s for my family tucked away, ready for the 14th.
Eh, what’s a therapist for if you don’t have anything to tell them?
I cannot blame commercialism for the expectations I have on these holidays, I can, however, lovingly and pointedly blame my wonderful mother.
So to one of the last Kool Aid mom’s on the block, this heart-shaped pizza’s for you mom!