Two years ago, I had a baby. When Mother's Day rolled around, I waited to see how it would make me feel. After all, now that I was a new mom, Mother's Day was supposed to mean something to me, wasn't it?
That morning, my husband gave me a plant. I was always complaining about our lack of greenery in the backyard, so he spruced it up for me. Then we ran errands with our baby, and all of the store employees wished me a happy Mother's Day. Honestly, I enjoyed it. Not because being a mother made me feel like a more complete person, but because it was kind of them to share their good wishes. All in all, it was a pretty good day.
Now, Mother’s Day is upon us, and I only want one thing: to be blissfully, gloriously alone.
In theory, I’m not opposed to seeing my child on Mother’s Day. In most respects, Sunday will be like every other day: we'll wake up in the same place, and I'll try to feed him while he throws food on the floor. I’m not opposed to seeing my husband that day, either, especially since I'm sure he'll do his part to celebrate me. (It helps that unlike my son, he never throws anything on the floor.) But I want a big chunk of the day to myself. During that time, I don’t want to see any of them. And I don’t believe I am selfish for wanting this.
I am a person who enjoys being alone. When I'm constantly surrounded by other people, it's hard for me to focus on myself and my own needs. When I'm alone, I can take account of my feelings and ask myself if I’m happy, or sad, or so-so. I can ask myself if I feel good about the things I have going on in my life, or if there are changes I need to make. Through the sound of my own heart beating, I can hear everything that I need. Being alone is the only way I can get in touch with myself.
On Sunday, I want to make a cup of coffee and drink it slowly. I want to set it down on the floor without it being tipped over.
On Sunday, I want to make a cup of coffee and drink it slowly. I want to set it down on the floor without it being tipped over. I want to to eat a meal without my child tugging at my pants for a bite of food. I want to dig in to a book and read it from front to back.
As a wife and mother, I am constantly tethered to two wonderful people. But on Sunday, I want to be able to act like I am free, if only temporarily. I want to sit in a room and lie in bed without anyone in there with me. I want to take a walk on a nature trail. I want to wander.
The moment I started writing this piece, my husband texted me with a request. “My mom wants to know if we want to grill out for Mother’s Day Sunday afternoon,” he wrote.
This Sunday, I will enjoy the time I spend by myself — but when my family comes back, I will welcome them with joy.
My response? "HELL NAW," I wrote in all caps. Hell naw, I do not want to grill outside on Mother’s Day. I don’t want to eat charred meats. I don’t want to sit under my mother-in-law's ceiling fan, trying to ignore the air blowing through the top of my head. On Sunday, I don’t want to be in public and I don't want to tailor my behavior to meet anyone else's standards. I want to be alone in the world, the way I came into it and the way I will leave it and the way that I love best.
My favorite moments are when I am home and there is no one there with me: not my husband, not my child, and not even my dog. The space is there for me to inhabit as I choose. As I look around, relishing the silence, the space is cluttered with reminders of the people I love. I see my son's toys, the stuffed animals that belong to our dog, my husband's running shoes. These objects make me feel like the people I love are both there and not there at the same time.
As much as I love being alone, I love my house because it belongs to us, and not just me. I am happy not in spite of my husband and child, but because of them. So this Sunday, I will enjoy the time I spend by myself — but when my family comes back, I will welcome them with joy.