Happy Mother's Day
by Indrani Das Gupta
I had received a formal invitation from my daughter's school to celebrate Mother's Day. I was super excited to receive an invitation in a foreign land and that too in a country from where this day originated. It was my first Mother's Day since my arrival in USA.
I took leave from office to celebrate this special occasion. I was busy the entire morning choosing the right dress, accessories and definitely practising the perfect smile on my face. My daughter had been regularly rehearsing the songs she was taught in school. I found her pretty serious about the event. She told she had a surprise for me which she did not want to reveal. I loved surprises so I was fine with it. As my good luck would have it, Father's Day followed Mother's Day, so I already was a winner. This itself was a great feeling, hard to describe.
My husband dropped me to school and left hurriedly. Was it the feeling of coming second in this race that he left without even saying 'bye' to me? Anyway, I hardly had time to analyse my husband's feelings. I had bigger goals to achieve - “To make this Mother's Day a memorable one”.
I saw my daughter in one corner of the room with her eyes eagerly waiting for me. The moment she saw me enter the room she came running with a flower in her hand. She told me that she had made the flower in 'Art and Craft' class. I proudly said to myself 'Definitely must have inherited the handiwork skill from me'. I immediately took my selfie with flower in hand and posted it on Facebook. Did not forget to tag my husband :-):-) . I smiled sheepishly. Next the children started singing the songs planned perfectly to suit the occasion. The songs were beautiful with full of praises for moms.
The final leg of the program was 'Mother's Day Card' which each kid had created. My daughter handed me my card. It was a beautiful pink colour card written and decorated by my daughter. I opened the card to see what was written inside. It had favorite of the mom's. Favourite color, food, dress...At the end, it had a question, “What does your mother like to do MOST?” My daughter had written, 'TO SLEEP'. I could not believe my eyes. I almost fell from the
chair. How could my own daughter do this to me? A strange thought crossed my mind. Is the hospital responsible for this? I would not be surprised. They had so many babies in the nursery with same pink dress. You hardly can spot the difference.
I was shocked, devastated, heart broken. I imagined the expression on her teacher's face when she read this. Why give such tricky questions to 5 year old kid? Her teacher did not know I was such a hard working lady. Should I meet her teacher and clarify it? The idea sounded stupid, would do more harm than good. Not my daughter's fault. Definitely influenced by my husband who kept saying how lazy I was who loved to sleep.
How could I show this to my husband? It felt like showing your report card to your parents with failed marks in Maths. My husband came to pick us and saw the report card, sorry, I mean Mother's Day card. The expression on his face looked as if he had won the Battle of Plassey.
I had turned from hero to zero. I had no option but to keep quite. I could not fight or argue with my darling daughter for what she had written. The person who benefited from my loss was my husband. Not only he had enough time to prepare before Father's Day but he knew the questions before the exam. He took full advantage of the situation and made all efforts to show how deeply he was interested in tennis, swimming, badminton and other outdoor activities. I heard him posing this question to our daughter when I was not around, “What does your father like most to do?”. I did make faint protests of 'cheating' but not much success. I comforted myself saying “At the end of the day it does not matter who wins...We are finally going to celebrate together”. This thought made me feel better.
For the next few years, this competition continued and we BOTH made efforts to impress our daughter with extra curricular activities (singing, dancing, cooking, indoor-outdoor sports) before Mother's/Father's Day so she writes them if asked in the Card (Very similar to the way professionals do before year end appraisals to impress supervisors). Not sure how many years we will succeed in influencing our daughter and get good rating. Children grow up real fast, you know!!! ***