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  • jdettmann

Hashtag Mother’s Day


Just before dawn yesterday I had one of those very special nightmares where you wake, unable to breathe from the horror, saying to yourself, ‘It’s all right, it was just a dream. It was just a dream,’ before going back to sleep and having the bastard dream resume exactly where it left off. That’s not supposed to happen. It was a classic anxiety dream, the details of which I will not relate because nothing is more boring than other people’s dreams.

H disagrees. He likes hearing about other people’s dreams, presumably because he is a psychologist and it’s some sort of revealing diagnostic tool. Often in the morning he’ll ask me if I had any dreams. I like to answer, with a sad, faraway stare, ‘Once perhaps. But not for years. They’ve all crumbled into dust now.”

I think maybe I’m supposed to ask him back about his dreams, but I rarely do. He tells me anyway, and they seem to frequently feature me being way more fun than I am in real life.

After the second wave of the nightmare yesterday, I woke up properly and snuggled Garnet, who has resumed sneaking into bed with us and treats me like a highly configurable pillow. He arranges me in the position that is most comfortable for him, in which I resemble a frowning human ampersand, then goes back to sleep. He only stirs if I try to move in any way apart from breathing.

But yesterday I snuggled him happily and gratefully because it was Mother’s Day. And I am exceedingly grateful for my healthy, lovely babies. Even though pretty much the first thing Garnet said to me once he was awake, in reference to absolutely nothing, was ‘You have to stop complaining now, it’s Mother’s Day.’ I hadn’t even spoken. I suppose it’s good to head these things off at the pass.

I almost made it through the day without complaining. H hosted a beautiful breakfast for my parents, brother, sister-in-law, her parents and me. I was given a beautiful bunch of flowers, a card from May Blossom that extolled my virtues (chiefly the speed of my running and my spaghetti-cooking prowess) and a drawing from Garnet. We spent the day with friends and family, and I even got a few hours to myself to read and loll about in the bath.

So really, it was the height of gracelessness and ingratitude for me to get a fit of the grumps in the evening when I went on Facebook and Instagram and saw all the pictures people had posted of themselves with their children and their mothers. They all looked beautiful. The pictures weren’t selfies. All the kids were dressed charmingly and all the mothers looked gorgeous and so happy. What’s that all about and why don’t I have shots like I that, I wondered. Do those people have partners who offer to take such pictures? Do they just ask someone to take them? Do they remember early enough in the day when the kids aren’t covered in filth, and arrange or everyone to sit down nicely for a picture? What is wrong with my family?

I stomped about, getting the kids ready for bed, snarling like a passive-aggressive Rottweiler in a tracksuit. “Why don’t you ever take nice pictures of me with the kids?’ I asked H. ‘What if I die? They won’t remember me because no one ever takes pictures in this family except me. The only pictures of me are selfies where I’m checking my makeup to see if I’ve gone too mental trying to draw myself cheekbones with the bronzer or me giving myself bubble mustaches in the bath. If I die they’ll think their mother was a terribly vain stripy brown fool and/or Colonel Sanders.’

It is to H’s eternal credit that he didn’t reply ‘Probably wouldn’t be a bad thing if they didn’t remember this sort of thing.’

I have no defence. I was a bit tired and emotional, but that doesn’t warrant being a shit. I’d had a lovely day. What does it matter that it wasn’t recorded and Instagrammed and hashtagged and Facebooked and clicked and liked and hearted? It doesn’t. Much. Really. I suppose.

Besides, the best bits of my Mother’s Day wouldn’t translate well into images. The cuddles from little soft bodies. The hour of peaceful, uninterrupted lego building with Garnet. The performance, at my request, of my favourite after-dinner show, in which May Blossom plays the emcee of a concert about a chicken, but she can’t ever get past ‘Good evening ladies and gentlemen­–’ before Garnet interrupts by marching onto the stage too early, flapping his wings and clucking. She escorts him off muttering ‘Not yet, chicken.’ This is repeated fifty or sixty times, until I am helpless with laughter.

I really do love being their mother, despite all my complaining. I guess I just wish I was organised enough record some of those nice moments when we’re all clean and tidy and no-one’s crying. Because we do have those.

I hope all the other mothers and partners of mothers and children of mothers had a good day yesterday, and that you managed to keep your complaints to yourself if you didn’t (or even if you did). You can put them in the comments here if you like, where your children won’t see how ungrateful you are.

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