Sunday, 8 May 2011

Mother's day strikes again

Longstanding readers may remember that last May, I committed a cardinal sin.

I booked Littleboy 1's birthday party for American Mother's Day.

I had no idea that Mother's Day was this sacred day in the U.S. Not just a day to give Mothers a card, or maybe a bunch of flowers, but a day to be set aside as extremely special, on which nothing else can take place, especially something that doesn't involve the immediate family. It was as if I'd suggested a wife swap party or going out clubbing on Christmas morning - the horror in people's voices as they replied that no, they couldn't possibly come.

This year I cannily booked the party for next weekend instead, but I still found myself completely amazed by US Mother's Day. All week, people have been asking me what was I doing for Mother's Day - to which I had to politely shrug my shoulders and mumble that I wasn't sure. The truth is, we had no special plans - if I was going to celebrate Mother's Day at all it would probably be the British one. It was nice when the Littleboys gave me their cards from school ("I love you, Mom"), but I was quite happy with that, thank you very much. They'd already been ordered to bring money to buy presents at a 'Mother's and Father's Day fair' (Littleboy 1 chose surprisingly wisely; a plant for me and a torch for The Doctor).

As the day grew closer everyone was wishing everyone a Happy Mother's Day. Even the schoolbus driver said it on Friday as I and the other 'Moms' collected our kids at the bus stop. Meanwhile, a group of us were trying to organize a group photo to be taken for an event we're involved with; a time needed to be found at the weekend, but then one person pointed out via email that 'Sunday is Mother's Day' so of course should be completely ruled out.

My European friend, who has been here for five years and is therefore more ingrained into US calendar dates, thought it might be nice to do something for Mother's Day - perhaps go out for lunch. But when she phoned a local restaurant, it was completely booked out. We decided instead to go for a picnic, so this morning I set off to the supermarket and the bakery to get some supplies.

I kid you not, the supermarket was like Christmas Eve at Waitrose. The trolleys had run out; people were queuing to get inside. The clientele was almost totally made up of Dads, buying special Mother's Day lunches and bunches of flowers, and a few kids. The few other women there looked harried and pissed off.

Undaunted I carried on. I went to our favourite French bakery; it does the most delicious croissants and rolls. They were sold out - at 10am, which is unheard of. (I learned later from our picnic companions that they were sold out at 9am). Everyone was also in there buying huge cakes for guess what? Mother's Day.

I eventually tracked down croissants at the third bakery I visited (luckily we are blessed with a lot of bakeries in town). Phew! As I drove home, every single ad on the radio seemed to be Mother's Day related.

The picnic went very well - it was a glorious day and we walked on the beach after lunch, the boys dipping their toes into the still icy water. As we got back into the car, Littleboy 1 gave me a handful of shells he'd collected. "For Mother's Day," he said, beaming angelically.

I'm still resisting, but next year you might find the lure of Mother's Day is too much. I will be expecting a large cake, thank you very much, will have booked the brunch weeks in advance and will send out my children for croissants at dawn.


Iota said...

It's certainly something one can get used to. I had croissants at dawn, and then lunch in a particularly nice Italian restaurant. And I've made everyone be nice to me all day. And tidy up. And Husband has done all the usual family stuff (dinner, washing up, etc). And he's doing bedtimes while I blog. So don't knock it.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Americans know how to celebrate! They'd find my family's version of any annual event (b'day, Christmas etc) entirely drab!

Elsie Button said...

that's incredible! well, it's nice that mothers are so thoroughly celebrated! (the shells was a lovely touch)

PantsWithNames said...

What you need to do is instill this concept of Mothers Day in the boys whilst they are in the States. Then, when you come back to the UK you can glory in the fuss they make of you on Mothers Day whilst every other child/father forgets.

Happy Mothers Day anyway! Sounds blissful.

Lynn said...

Traditionally, for many, the day begins with the children (ie,Dad) making and serving breakfast in bed for Mom. After this ritual has been observed, Mom really deserves to be taken out to lunch. No, really it's a lot of fun (mostly).

nappy valley girl said...

Iota - you're right. It is a nice idea. But I do think that, like so many holidays in the US, it has become very commercial....

Mud - as one of my friends said, when someone she knew bought her husband an iPad for father's day - what does he get on Christmas day??

Elsie - They don't do things by halves out here!

Pants - cunning plan. Hopefully they will remember it all, along with Halloween, Valentine's Day and the rest.

Lynn - It's a nice ritual. (Although personally I am not really a fan of breakfast in bed - it's the idea of food on my sheets....)

About Last Weekend said...

Yes I always underestimate the bigness of this day here, though my friends always call it Mother in law day. we are not big on the hallmark holidays and most people feel terribly sorry for me not having a huge lunch somewhere posh with my kids playing up!

nappy valley girl said...

About last weekend - glad it's not just me! Yes, many of my friends seem to have ended up spending the weekend with their in-laws, which may or may not be fun.