Grinching Out On Mother’s Day

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Sometimes I feel like such a Mother’s Day grinch. But the truth is, for most moms Mother’s day is no different than every other day of the year. And even if you are Jedi-level good at keeping expectations low, they can creep up on Mother’s day despite your best intentions.

Last year, Mother’s day was kind of a wreck. It was just a hard day, which happens pretty frequently when your kids are 6, 3 and 2, superfluous holidays notwithstanding. It’s a day when I tend to stay off social media, as obnoxious humble brags abound about worlds’ best children and husbands, who are, in reality, probably selfish and thankless and piggish every other day of the year, but on this day are photoshopped to be the standard bearers for selflessness and generosity.

So, to flee the suppressive air of social media and all things mother’s day, I went on a hike. Alone. A hike broken only by the ringing of my phone high on the top of a hill to confirm the reception of one (1) orphaned squirrel baby that we found in our backyard and to be placed with the finest of (free) wild squirrel rehab facilities. A call which I was happy to take. Because I am no squirrel mom, and I figured if she abandoned her pup as we had to surmise she did, she’s probably having a worse day than I am.

The year before, just months after having my third child, Mother’s Day had been punctuated with silence from my own mother. I had sent her an email gift certificate which became lost in her inbox; she assumed I had gotten her nothing for Mother’s day and didn’t call until Monday, when she found it.

IMG_9759So I cried a little bit on this hike, and felt sorry for myself, and then got over it. I did a little trail running her and there, and when I got to the top, it was worth it. I sat on a bald spot of rock and watched boats trail lazily in the water below, their motors audible even this far up. I watched birds soar past a little farther down over the lake, hunting prey. I took in the shadowy silhouettes of the mountains across the way, disappearing back as far as I could see. I ate some flavored almonds and an apple and I didn’t share with anyone.

It took me an hour and a half to hike up, an hour to hike down, and an hour of driving round-trip. And when I got home, I felt refreshed, restored, and ready to deal with a baby squirrel rehoming emergency.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer, marathoner and mother of three girls. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City. 

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