Your mom should hate you.
Your mom gives you everything. That is all she does. She gives and she gets nothing back. Not from you. You take. She’s a giver. You’re a taker.
That’s the way it is. It’s always been that way.
Even before you were born, mom gave. You lived in her womb. You were fed. You were warm. You were safe. Everything was taken care of. You grew. You kicked and thrashed around. No one complained.
And, ok, to be fair, she liked it. Sort of. At least she grew to like it. She was uncomfortable. As you got bigger she got bigger. Her growth was disproportionate to yours. “I am eating for two,” she said. But it wasn’t horrible. She was nurturing a new life and it was nice.
But then you decided to leave. And your leaving was traumatic. It nearly killed her. She survived. But low death rates at childbirth are a miracle of modernity. Survival isn’t something you can take for granted. And even in the best cases, it is painful. Like really painful. Like really, really painful.
And emotionally, too, it was hard. But it happened. You were born. And now she had you. Little you.
You didn’t say thank you. Not at all.
You kept her up at night. You ate. You cried. You teethed and you drooled and you chewed on things. And you cried. You didn’t sleep. You made demands. You were loud. You cried.
And you didn’t always smell so nice either.
What about dad? Well, he was dad. He tried. But it wasn’t the same. Mom was on her own.
You got older. And you didn’t say thank you. Again.
Mom kept giving. She gave and she gave. Her giving was non-stop. She drove you places and made you meals and bought you clothes and loved you and put bandaids on your boo-boos. You complained. You kveched. You probably took her for granted.
Time went on.
You became a moody teenager. You were difficult. You were resentful. You had to be told to do things. Twice. More than twice. And maybe mom found you frustrating or challenging or difficult to understand, but she loved you anyway because, well, that’s what moms do. Being mom is a thankless job.
But she was used to it.
And then – at some point – it was time to move out. And that wasn’t easy for mom. She didn’t like that. You would think mom would be happy to see you go. It’s about time. Finally. She’s free.
But it isn’t. She can’t handle it. Seeing you go is just as hard.
I remember when I moved out. It was my first day at college. My parents brought me to school. They helped me move in. But then they wouldn’t leave. They hung around. They came with me to get my student ID. They waited with me on line.
And my mom freaked out. She went bananas. She was in a mood. She was annoyed. She picked on everything. She couldn’t handle it. Eventually my dad said, “It’s time to go.” They left and I was on my own. Thank God.
But what do you expect?
Her baby was leaving home. He was moving hundreds of miles away. It was traumatic. It wasn’t traumatic for me – I was thrilled – but it was traumatic for mom.
That’s the way it is.
Mom gives unconditionally. That’s her job. That’s all she does. Mom gives. She doesn’t get a thank you.
At first you can’t say thank you. An infant can’t say thank you. A screaming, teething baby can’t say thank you. Toddlers won’t say thank you. Some kids say thank you. But teenagers don’t. Teenagers are too self-absorbed.
And then they leave home.
Unconditional giving leads to unconditional loving.
Mom gives unconditionally. You would think that unconditional giving would lead to resentment. I mean, that should be the case. Being mom is a thankless job. You ingrate.
But no. It isn’t.
Unconditional giving leads to unconditional loving. It is the way you are wired. It’s how you are made. It is a deep Jewish idea, too. The Hebrew word for love – ahava – comes from the Hebrew root, hav, to give. The basis of love is giving. Mom gives. She gives unconditionally. No one gives more unconditionally than mom. And no one loves you more unconditionally than mom.
That’s how it works.
On Mother’s Day, you hear enough hype and feel enough guilt that you feel like you have to do something.
And you should.
Send her a card. Buy her flowers. Give her a call. You need to do it. Gratitude is an important trait. It is something you need to internalize. For you. It will make you a better person and your mom will appreciate it.
And if you forget, well, you blew it. But you don’t have to worry. She loves you anyway.
She gave you too much not to.