Mother’s Day: A cautionary tale


I started dropping non-so-subtle hints last week.

“You DO know that Mother’s Day is coming, don’t you?” I said rather loudly to my husband, Francis.

“Yeah,” he replied defensively, “what about it?”

“Don’t you remember what happened last year?” I could tell from his blank stare that Francis was thinking about peanuts, or Greco-Roman wrestling, or “Deadliest Catch”, because he had no clue what I was talking about.

It was Sunday morning, May 10th, 2015, and I was the first one awake. Surprised that no one in my family had brought me a cup of coffee, I thought, “Surely they’ve got something planned for Mother’s Day.”

When I woke our teens for church, they were particularly grumpy. “Seriously?” Anna sassed, “I never get to sleep in!” In protest, Lilly hopped into the minivan wearing a ratty pair of jeans and flip flops.

Late, as usual, we slipped into a side pew during the first reading. Francis yawned during the gospel, Anna wouldn’t hold my hand during the “Our Father,” and no one but me sang the hymns. I would normally be annoyed, but I figured they were just pretending to be lazy, disrespectful and negligent, because then I’d be really surprised when they revealed their fabulous Mother’s Day plans.

“Go in peace, the mass has ended,” Father Kris said, adding, “And Happy Mother’s Day!”

I was halfway down the isle before I realized that my family was still in the pew, whispering to each other. “Oh, this is going to be fun,” I thought.

Francis drove us to La Forge, a locals’ favorite brunch spot. “Do you have reservations, Sir? We’re all booked up,” the host said politely. After exploring a few more dead ends, we got a mixed dozen in the Dunkin’ Donuts Drive Thru and headed home, Francis promising that something special was in store.

Francis and the kids darted into the house, presumably to get ready for those fabulous Mother’s Day plans, and I sat in our sunny back yard to get out of their way.

Suddenly, Francis, who didn’t see me in the backyard, rushed out to the minivan, the tires squealing as he drove away. Fifteen minutes later he was back, and as he ran past the backyard gate, he saw me sitting there.

In his hands were a 7-11 plastic bag that appeared to be holding a greeting card, and a cellophane cone wrapped around a sad-looking bouquet. From the look in his eyes, I knew the truth.

My family had completely forgotten about Mother’s Day.

If that weren’t bad enough, Francis had bought me something he knows I don’t like: cut flowers. When the kids were young, I loved the sticky bunches of dandelions they’d pick for me out of our backyard. I was so proud of their thoughtfulness, and I’d place the oozing stems in a little jelly jar in the center of our kitchen table. But I have never liked cut flowers bought from the store, and my family has known this for years.

Seeing Francis sneaking in the house, something snapped. Mothers work tirelessly and selflessly to raise kids and create a homes for their families. Many, like me, put their careers aside, giving up all aspirations for professional rewards and respect, to dedicate themselves to their families. This is the one day when mom should expect a pat on the back.

Determined that my family would not “get the check in the box,” I calmly walked into the house, called everyone into the kitchen and announced, “Mother’s Day is hereby cancelled.”

Thanks to the year-long guilt trip I put them on, I’m fairly confident that my family will have a fabulous day planned for me this year.

More not-so-subtle hints: Bring me a cup of coffee without spilling it on the staircase. Make your beds without griping. Let’s go to church on time for once, and at least pretend to sing the hymns. Find a sunny spot for a family picnic, without anyone complaining that someone else took the last bag of ranch Doritos. Later, the kids can cook something for dinner that doesn’t have chocolate chips, and clean up without suctioning each other with the Shop Vac. And lastly, a thoughtful homemade card with personal sentiments would be nice, instead of “Have a good Mother’s Day – Hayden Molinari.”

And if you must get flowers, I prefer dandelions.

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Comments: 12

  1. energywriter May 2, 2016 at 6:27 am Reply

    Good luck on getting a “real Mother’s Day” celebration. I hope it works out for you.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari May 2, 2016 at 11:43 pm Reply

      Same to you, Sharon!

  2. Behind the Story May 2, 2016 at 12:00 am Reply

    You’re not asking for much. They’d better come through this year. Happy Mother’s Day.

    This year Mother’s Day falls on my birthday. Plus, my grandson is having First Communion on Saturday. So I’m flying across country for a family gathering. It should be fun.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari May 2, 2016 at 11:43 pm Reply

      Wow – since you have mother’s day and your birthday in one day, there is no excuse for your children to forget. Have a grand time!

  3. M. Mikatarian May 1, 2016 at 4:47 pm Reply

    Tears rolling from the laughter!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari May 1, 2016 at 5:00 pm Reply

      You know Francis, so I’m sure that makes this one funnier!

  4. lauriebest May 1, 2016 at 4:16 pm Reply

    Great column, Lisa. I have to admit I even forgot the correct date this year — isn’t it usually about a week later? I think the Hallmark people just did this to throw us off so nobody would know the actual date. Everyone –especially moms– would be thrown off thus having families madly scrambling on every Sunday of May trying to pick the right one, thus creating a four-fold increase in sales of cards, flowers and chocolate. Excellent marketing ploy, Hallmark!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari May 1, 2016 at 5:00 pm Reply

      It’s May 8th this year Laurie – Don’t let them forget!

  5. Carolyn Still May 1, 2016 at 2:45 pm Reply

    Well, as my family grew and scattered, I decided to host a Mother’s Day dinner each year. That way we could all see each other. As my daughters had families of their own, it has also served to alleviate the need for going out to crowded restaurants. Everyone helps bring a dish to share. That’s a thought.

    • Lisa Smith Molinari May 1, 2016 at 5:02 pm Reply

      Sorry Carolyn, but after 23 years of marriage, I don’t want to host, cook, or clean on Mother’s Day. I don’t care if the family orders Chinese take out, just save me an egg roll!

  6. Patrice May 1, 2016 at 2:36 pm Reply

    Amen, sister!

    • Lisa Smith Molinari May 1, 2016 at 5:02 pm Reply

      Hope the Hanulak crew treats you right, Patrice!

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