"Mommy, can you put lipstick on please?..."
You only get one mom.
Although. Sometimes two. Sometimes not. Sometimes more. Sometimes several.
Anyway, personally, I've never celebrated Mother's Day. Formal prohibition because... Jehovah's Witnesses.
However, as a child, apart from the Sacred Ban, that didn't stop me from concocting surprises that would get me excited:
Making the bathroom glow for (what seemed like) hours... And being disappointed that she didn't get more excited about my work. "That's sweet, honey, but I'm tired. I'm going to bed". Sniff.
Gathering my small savings to offer her a pink bicycle jewelry box that I thought was too pretty. I hit the nail on the head... Yes!
Stubbornly buying her makeup when she never wore it. She had a very peculiar relationship with her femininity: she was very beautiful but not at all seductive. Zero make-up, no perfume, just a few beautiful dresses and a soul to die for as her most beautiful asset.
But I wanted her to wear makeup. She told me that "no, I'm allergic".
But me... I needed more to discourage me; I am stubborn...
So, once again, I took my small savings and went to the local pharmacy to buy her a hypoallergenic lipstick. She would have no more excuses.
What a bummer to find out that even that one she wasn't wearing. Or my nail polish for that matter.
The only red stuff she wore, on very rare occasions, were her patent heels that I was secretly drooling over in her closet. They were open and could have shown that famous nail polish. But anyway.
As a teenager, things got tough.
Yes, she and I were far from being ecstatic.
I had to say that I was very angry at her for getting my brothers and I involved in this cult that broke more than one of our wings.
To have given us inadequate reference points to have the keys of this world.
And probably unconsciously, for not being a blooming woman.
She is calm and level-headed. I am impulsive and spontaneous.
She is reasonable and thoughtful. I am a go-getter and a hothead.
And I am...
In short, as a teenager, I don't know how she managed to put up with me! In addition to our differences in temperament, my grumbling about her strict and forbidding upbringing, I was, like many teenagers, haughty, pretentious, disdainful and I never missed an opportunity to spit my contempt at her.
Her greatest weapon was the Olympian calm she displayed in the face of my sarcasm and jabs.
It was not until I became a mother myself that I could smoke the peace pipe.
That's right: when my firstborn son arrived, I fell off my pedestal.
I quickly realized that I too was making 1,000 mistakes as a mom. That I was not unsinkable.
That it's not that simple to invent yourself as a mother.
That no matter how hard we try to do the best we can, we are all caught up, to a greater or lesser extent, by our all-too-human humanity, our frailties, our "imperfections", our fears.
It was at that moment that I realized how my mom had to deal with her own chaotic history and that, well, she did a pretty good job with us! Indulgence was born...
Since then, a real virtuous circle has developed between us.
Water has flowed under our cracked bridges.
The masterful time has repaired our wounds.
She confided in me that she had missed her youth and her life as a woman. "There is no way I am going to miss my life as a mature woman!
So we each continue our respective roads in a mutual respect and we meet again with delight at our little crossroads.
I love the grandmother that she is: available, funny, witty, educational, gentle but firm, structuring. With her, the worst grammar lessons become real children's games, walks, life lessons, board games, laughter.
And I love the mom she is, especially since she has reconciled with herself. Seeing her blossom, happy, joyful, is her greatest gift to me and what carries me the most.
Gone are the vitriolic dialogues of the deaf.
I can only see the beauty of this woman that I cherish so much. Her values and her uniqueness inspire me every day: she is generous, benevolent, funny, piquant, modest, reasonable, cultured without making a big deal of it. Her anger is cold and elegant. And she knows how to choose silences that speak much louder than 1,000 words.
This Saturday, May 9, is her birthday.
This Sunday, May 10th, her celebration.
And like every year, I will celebrate her outside of these dates.
Because my mom is like my own Alice in Wonderland: I have 364 days to wish her "Happy Non-Birthdays".