Today is Mother’s Day, and with the opening credits of Mad Men just a few hours away, my performance on this holiest of days, and in fact my recounting of it here, will without a doubt be held to that highest standard. At first glance I have it made. Not a hint of tobacco, alcohol, overt sexism, identity theft or adultery since sunrise. A new iPhone 4S for Alma, preloaded with a video Mother’s Day card featuring the kids spitting on her antiquated phone got us off to to great start. Then a terrific brunch (out), swimming and rock-climbing with the kids, and finally some pampering time away from the kids. But I also did not manage to look much like John Hamm physically, which is a big strike against.
In fact, although Alma’s affection for him is well documented, what she really wants (I tell myself) most is to be surrounded by people who are thoughtful, caretakers, with attention to detail — more Joan than Don. Alma spends almost all of her time in that role, with our kids of course, but also with random acts designed to make a friend or a family member feel deeply thought about, and then executing on the details flawlessly. And on this one day I feel the pressure to deliver.
But this year, for the first time, I had some help. Like everything else, cooking included (And Alma talks a lot about this all year in this blog), behaviors that are modeled are passed on to our kids. And today we saw some evidence. Our eleven year old slyly baked an incredible cake while we were out last night, and put together a book of recipes that she thought her mom would really enjoy. Our superhero and mythology obsessed son gave her a poem and a plant, rubbed her feet in bed and said “I love you” for one of the few times on record. And the little ones scrambled to get their school-made projects into the mix. And then, not always successfully, they tried to be on their best behavior to allow the day to be their mom’s.
Over brunch we talked about our mothers (both gone) and grandmothers with the kids, and there was a real sense of the continuum of family, and the traditions and daily behaviors that are passed along. Alma spends a lot of her time creating traditions around cooking , but the spillover to the rooms outside of our kitchen is a wonderful consequence.
Happy Mother’s Day.