"Happy Mother's Day to you" the cashier said as she handed me my receipt. I mumbled out a "thank you" as Michael and I grabbed our groceries. We headed to the door and Michael asked "Do they just say that to every woman on Mother's Day?". I just shook my head. It was just the two of us. No Cabbage. Yet the woman just assumed that I was a mother. Why? Because I'm a woman of a certain age? I suppose I am a bit of anomaly to most. A woman of a certain age that's never used her uterus to carry a living being. There was a part of me that wanted to yell out at that cashier "I'm not a mother!" or something to make her think twice before wishing every single woman she sees a Happy Mother's Day. My inner ragey feminist wanted to jab my finger into her shoulder and shout something about just because I am equipped with the factory doesn't mean I have to produce. Then there's another part of me that thinks it's pretty insensitive of her to assume I'm a mother. What if I was that woman who desperately wanted a baby, but couldn't have one or afford adoption? What if I had lost my children and the very act of reminding me of Mother's Day was just like tearing open stitches, reminding me of my loss? Actually, I know a couple of people who probably find Mother's Day difficult because of loss. Lost mothers. Lost children. Not easy. The truth is I am kind of sort of a mom. I mean, I do all of the mom things when we have the Cabbage. I make sure she has clean clothes that fit her. Last weekend I taught her how to put her underwear on by herself. We practice it all the time now. I keep Cheerios, cereal bars, mac-n-cheese, ketchup and chicken nuggets in stock at all times. I have wiped a runny nose, rubbed many a banged knee, and fretted over coughs. At the end of a day's excursions it is not odd for me to clean out my pockets and find various rocks, bits of leaves, candy wrappers, and maybe a bit of string or a miniature My Little Pony. I am met with constant complaint and criticisms and I know more about the things she doesn't like than the things that she does like. I worry about her knowledge of the alphabet and that little problem with saying our "ls". I am often on the receiving end of hugs, kisses and animal kisses (rubbing noses). We will spend a morning fighting and struggling to get dressed and hair brushed only to get her into her car seat and have her exclaim "this is my best day ever!". I say to myself "High five! Shoes are on the right feet!". So yeah, every Wednesday evening and every other weekend I play a real live mom (on TV).
Michael hands me a card while we sit with our lox and cream cheese and CBS Sunday Morning. It's a thank you card. As I start to read it he says "they don't make cards for this". For this. For this confusing glob of blended family. Michael forwarded me a text sent from his ex-wife wishing a Happy Mother's Day to "the best bonus mom ever". He asked her if the Cabbage had really said it. His ex replied back with "no, but to be fair I couldn't really even get her to wish me a Happy Mother's day". The Cabbage isn't old enough to really grasp the concept of Mother's Day or Father's Day. I sent the Cabbage home Wednesday evening with a gift for her to give her mom and I made her "sign" a card, but that doesn't mean she really understood why we were doing those things. She's still learning the art of appreciation. I had been feeling slightly sorry for myself, being not a mother but kind of a mother on Mother's Day. His card made be feel appreciated and loved, but a little weird too. I sent a Happy Mother's Day text to Katrina and she replied "Thank you. Actually, Happy Mother's Day to you too". I replied "thanks, but weird". She texted back "weird wonderful". I suppose it is weird wonderful to suddenly go from being the one to celebrate mom to being the one celebrated as a mom. My first "Bonus Mom Day". It is kind of amazing how you think you may have blocked off that section of your heart only to realize that someone has managed to clear a path and how something you never wanted is something you're pretty happy to have now. Even if it's only part time.