What is this? Two posts in two weeks? Sometimes, I even amaze myself.
Mother’s Day is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. Between helping out at Katie’s school carnival in late April (yes, I’m STILL working carnival) and her first communion last weekend, I hadn’t really given any thought to what is supposed to be “my day.” Luckily, Chris keeps me on track and has made the requisite brunch reservation. He also asked me if there was anything special that I wanted to do on Sunday, besides the obvious: not cook. Yes, he knows me well.
Now, I know that in my last post I said that I don’t really like presents. What I also should have stated was that on the rare occasion I actually do ask for something, I fully expect to receive it and woe to that person (yes, I mean Chris) who doesn’t come through. I wield my gift requests sparingly: it makes them all the more powerful and effective. Who’s going to have the temerity to turn down a request made on par with the presidential election cycle? You got it in one: my loving husband!
March 2010: Katie is two months old and a more different baby than our firstborn I could not imagine. Whereas Sarah as a newborn was quiet and sweet, Katie was…well, let’s just say, not. She cried. A lot. She fussed. A lot. She was not satisfied. A lot. She kicked my ass. A lot. And I was tired. So, so tired. Between her and a needy four-year- old Sarah who finally figured out that this little bundle of “joy” was a permanent resident and not toting a tourist visa, I was feeling unhinged. At yet another 3AM feeding, all I could think was, “Dear God, I need a break.”
Whether it was God speaking to me or my own desperation, inspiration struck. Mother’s Day was well, not quite around the corner, but would arrive in about 60 days and that year, I knew exactly what I would ask for. A quick Google search confirmed the necessary information so that Chris knew unequivocally what I wanted. Like I said, I don’t ask for presents very often but when I do, I’m specific and to the point. I mean business.
As I continued to feed Katie in those not quite pre-dawn hours, I fantasized about what this present would entail. Simply put, I wanted a sixteen-hour period all to myself. I wanted to check in to a hotel at 4PM the night before Mother’s Day and spend that evening alone, preferably in a king size bed. I wanted to take a long shower. I wanted to read my magazines. I wanted to channel surf. I wanted to order room service for dinner. I wanted an uninterrupted night of sleep. I wanted to wake up on my time, not someone else’s. I wanted (another!) shower and then, meet Chris and the girls for Mother’s Day brunch. He’d arrive with the girls dressed and coiffed. I’d order a mimosa feeling refreshed and ready to spend the day with my family. I could’t imagine anything more luxurious. And according to Google, this slice of nirvana came at the low, low price of $129 courtesy of the Westin Galleria, located a mere 3.4 miles from our house!! How could a husband say no?!?
Well, he did indeed say, “No,” and quite vociferously. His words are still etched into my brain, “If you need to get away from your family so badly that you need to check into a hotel in the SAME TOWN where we live, then you need to seriously rethink your lifestyle choices.”
Lifestyle choices? LIFESTYLE CHOICES?? LIFESTYLE CHOICES??!?!? Did he not realize that at that point in my “lifestyle,” I had NO choices?!?! I couldn’t choose when to wake up. I couldn’t choose whether to have a full night’s sleep. I couldn’t choose when I could go to the bathroom without an audience. I couldn’t choose when to shower. I couldn’t choose what I wanted for lunch because instead, I was scarfing down the remnants of the one millionth chicken tender meal Sarah had discarded. Did he not realize that whatever meager choices I had left in the day could be, at any minute, derailed by a blow out diaper and a onesie full of crap?! I was at the mercy of our daughters, who he had a hand in creating by the way, and this was my desperate attempt to have some semblance of sanity, control, and respite from an exhausting 24/7 job. Nope. Still, no go.
He then proceeded to explain that he would understand if I wanted to go on a trip somewhere….not by myself of course, but with other friends to go to a destination to explore and to experience something new. But what he couldn’t understand was why I needed to get away just to get away. I responded back that a real trip away was actually even MORE work for me to ensure that he had everything he needed to watch the girls (the sitters, the carpool arrangements, the meal prep, and dear God, the breast milk pumping!) and not to mention exponentially more expensive. All this gift required was an overnight bag, $129, and not even a sliver of a tank of gas. What was his problem?!??!
In the end, after much heated debate and no apologies (North and South Korea, remember?), I knew I wasn’t getting my sixteen-hour Shangri-La in the suburbs. I dutifully spent the weekend with my family, went to brunch, and ordered my mimosa. I don’t really remember it, but I’m sure it was lovely.
I also booked a three-night trip. To Napa. With my Mom. I do remember it, and it was lovely. Happy Mother’s Day to me.
There is a happy ending to this story though— beyond the insane quantities of wine and food I got to consume under the California sun. Thanks to Chris, I had four uninterrupted days with my own mom, who would pass less than three years later. The memories of our time together will always be in my heart. Eventually, Katie outgrew her crabbiness and is now one of the happiest little girls I know. I shower any time I want. And these days, I can’t get enough time with our girls, both of whom would rather hang with their friends than boring old mom. This year, when Chris asked me what I wanted, my thoughts ran to activities like biking or golfing together as I try to hold on to Sarah and Katie tighter. It’s been said before and will be said again: it all goes so fast.
So to all you moms out there, whether you want to do nothing or do everything, I hope you get your wish. You deserve it, and more. Happy Mother’s Day!