Gardenia of Eden

Gardenias. Pretty, no?

Holidays–including the made up Hallmark ones–are different for each of us.

I, for example, do not care for either Halloween or New Year’s Eve. Dressing up like a hot dog or a bird or a sexy fill-in-the-blank has very low appeal to me. I don’t like to be scared. I have too active an imagination to participate in the paranormal without imperiling my ability to walk upstairs when it’s dark. Forget the basement.

As far as NYE goes, there’s always too much anticipation for too little payoff. It’s supposed to be a magical night, but it’s more like a worn card trick than disapparating at an electrified finger snap. Increasingly holding up through midnight is a challenge for my peer group. It’s yawn, clink, kiss and goodnight.

You can like those holidays if you want. There are others that I really like alot–Thanksgiving, Christmas and Fat Tuesday, for examples. You, of course, have your own feelings about those.

Mother’s Day is one that confounds me. It’s a holiday of expectations.

I remember going to see my Grandmother when I was little. I have memories of sometimes dutifully and other times ardently creating cards or noodle necklaces or tissue flowers for my own mother. There was my own first Mother’s Day and the yearly boon of my own either dutifully or ardently crafted gifts. There were flowers sent to my mother and the Spouse’s mother for a number of years until one, and then the other, left us.

Mother’s Day photos and wishes fill up my social media streams. As the middle-aged people take over The Facebook, I’m seeing pics of our mothers from when they were younger than we are now. Glamor shots from their high school yearbooks or square prints from your baby albums with you nestled in your 20-something mother’s arms or bouncing on her lap. I see your eyes, your smiles, your chins and your noses in your mother’s sepia or faded kodachrome face. I see generational shots with long lost greats next to your baby whose grown cap and gown picture you posted this past week.

I feel the losses that you are posting about not being able to call her, or about her looking down on you from heaven or simply a “miss you.”

Absent is the other feels of people who don’t have moms, who aren’t moms, who have lost their children, who hate their moms, who are estranged from their families. There’s waiting by moms to be acknowledged by their kids. The dawning recognition that this will be another year that your family fails to recognize this day–and a lurking envy of people you see with breakfasts in beds, brunches and bunches of dozens. It’s like bittersweet jam, this Mother’s Day thing.

Last year, Baby Bear and I went to see The Avengers: Age of Ultron for Mother’s Day. We bumped into one of his old classmates leaving the theater with his mother. They also saw The Avengers, because what else says Happy Mother’s Day like a super-hero movie? This year the Bear is almost two-thousand miles away.

Yesterday I picked up a gardenia plant at the grocery store. It was a pretty unusual find next to the blueberries. Gardenia’s were my mother’s favorite flower. She would tell of her dates buying her corsages, and, if it was a quality guy, he’d have a gardenia. One year, for Mother’s Day, we bought her a gardenia bush. The scent from the flowers was intoxicating. It only delivered two blooms, but they made me dizzy.

I smelled the gardenia before I saw it with its dark green leaves and bright white flowers. I breathed it in, got a little woozy and put in it my cart. It seemed to me that I was buying a gift for my mother. I bought myself some flowers, too.

Today I got up and watched the yelling shows. I padded around in my pajamas until the afternoon. I made a second pot of coffee. Before The Big Guy went to work, he asked me for a date. We’re going to see Captain America. Because what else says mother’s day like a super-hero movie?

Have a happy day, no matter your position on moms or this greeting card holiday. And, for us, it’s Team Cap, mom and apple pie all the way.

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