Except, I don't feel them. I never have.
I feel the same way about birthdays and anniversaries. Everyone is so nice because they're supposed to be nice. Husbands buy flowers because they're supposed to buy flowers. Children make cards at school because they were told to make cards at school. Love becomes this thing that people throw around arbitrarily. Because they're supposed to.
Supposed to unhinges me. Supposed to makes me question everyone, myself included. It did yesterday, at least. I fell apart yesterday. I did not deserve an appreciation day nor did I want one.
Perhaps it was spending the last three nights sleepless, musical (teething baby) chairs, but the last thing I wanted to do yesterday was celebrate my motherhood. Instead, I wanted to run from it. I wanted to hide. I cut up cucumbers for the picnic and filled all of the water bottles but the whole time I wanted to hide. I wanted to put on one of those mustache disguises and sneak out the back.
We spent the afternoon at the park and I played with my four amazing kids in the grass and we had a picnic and I finished the hummus and everyone was happy and wonderful and well behaved except for me. I smiled and played airplane with Bo, pulled flower petals from Revi's mouth, watched Archer and Fable play make-believe on the playground, smiled and laughed and felt guilty for feeling differently inside. Distant. Somewhere else...
Because this is what love looks like. This moment should be perfect. I should be the happiest girl in the world. I should count my blessings and then count them again and again and again because they're everywhere.
And they are everywhere. They're everywhere! So what is wrong with me that yesterday I found myself looking past all that. Past the play equipment and the faces of the people I love most of all, through the wrought iron fence and onto the street where young people walked with their Gelsons bags in cut-off shorts. I followed them into their apartments. Watched them get in and out of convertibles and kiss each other's impeccably blushed cheeks. I watched them check their reflections in the side of my minivan and walk on toward Santa Monica. I watched with my feet barefoot in the grass.
P.S. I sat down to write a Liner Notes post about all the wonderful things that happened this week, all the beautiful moments, the momentum with the house, Jacaranda trees in full bloom on every street... But this came out instead.
It's hard to write about these kinds of things. I probably shouldn't. Because I'm a mom. Because I'm not supposed to admit I have moments of selfishness. I'm not supposed to feel envious when I love my life. I'm not supposed to feel overwhelmed when I'm handling this just fine, thankyouverymuch. I'm not supposed to hate Mother's Day when I'm a mother. In a park. On a beautiful day.
And yet. Sometimes. Even surrounded by the thick green grass of Sunday afternoons, I become infatuated with the pavement. The grass isn't greener on the other side of the fence because there isn't any; just miles of cement slabs cracked and uprooted by trees.
The grass is always non-existent on the other side. I know that. I KNOW. But knowing doesn't stop me. I still feel the pull. I watch with my back against the fence and feel the pull. I make my kids' lunches, read them stories, love them with my whole heart and feel the pull.