If you follow me on Facebook, you were able to see the scratches in the surface or the tip of the iceberg that is the plethora of feelings I have about Mother’s Day. From the most annoying reasons of it being a made-up, over-commercialized holiday, to the gratitude I feel toward my family for wanting to celebrate me as a mother, to the kinship I feel toward so many people out there for whom the holiday brings forth deep and complicated feelings. Which is why I approach Mother’s Day much like I approach the anniversary of Jessica’s accident. Wary, quietly, with no sudden moves. I tend to sleep in and upon waking, give myself a good hour or two to truly evaluate how I’m feeling.
Today’s result looked hazy. I sat around in my pajamas, posting random Mother’s Day articles on Facebook, while Jesse and the girls ran out to get me Starbucks for breakfast. Once they arrived home, I had my Chai and finally got to play Jocelyn’s “follow-the-clue” game, that she set up for me three or four days ago. (Like in the novel “Gone Girl”, Jocelyn leaves a trail of clues that lead me to my final present. Only. Happier. There are less burned diaries and missing wives and more Starbucks gift cards and homemade art projects in Jocelyn’s game.)
While reading cards from the fam, I wondered if I should stay in my pajamas or attend the knit afternoon at the local yarn store. (I have been working on a hat, and just had the decreases to go.) Informal Facebook poll convinced me to stay in my jammies and knit at home. I took my knitting bag to the couch and turned on the TV with the intention of catching up on all of the shows I haven’t been watching since the TV season began. Little did I know this would bring a special, unexpected gift.
While waiting for Jesse to finish putting away the load of laundry he was working on, I grabbed some water from the kitchen and came back to the couch to find Jessica sitting there. I moved my bag over and plopped down next to her.
“Were you going to watch with us?”
“Sure.” She said, complete with a shrug and as Jesse sat down, I fired up an episode of Survivor.
And we watched.
I saw Jessica flinch at some of the scenes and I began to rub her arm and try to reassure her: “The shots like that are very short and they don’t happen very often.”
She laughed a little and squinted her eyes at the TV, saw the contestants huddled around the camp fire, then opened her eyes and sat up straighter.
And we watched.
Show after show (I was really behind), we sat there and watched and I felt a piece of my heart inching back into place.
Survivor started when Jessica was just a couple of months old. I have never missed a season, so she has grown up with it. When she was a toddler she would sing along with the theme song and as she grew older, she wasn’t interested in the strategy, but loved to watch the challenges.
Throughout her recovery, I’ve tried to get her interested in it again. It wasn’t until her Panic Disorder made itself truly known that I realized it was the sweeping aerial shots and the panoramic ocean views that were freaking her out and I stopped watching it when she was in the room.
She has been making a great deal of progress with her PD, so I was holding my breath a bit when I started the show. Other than the initial flinching, she seemed fine. More than fine. When I asked Jesse if he wanted to switch to a different show, Jessica asked: “Can we watch more Survivor? I find Mike very interesting.”
(Which I think is fifteen-year-old code for “Mike is hot.”)
So, we watched.
I knit most of the day away, but sometimes we just sat there, her with her legs in my lap, or leaning into me, with my arm around her. She clapped and cheered and we high-fived when Mike won three challenges in a row, and she let out a “DANG IT!” when he lost an important one.
And we watched.
All day we watched. We’re caught up and she is excited to watch the next episode on Wednesday.
All I did this Mother’s Day was watch Survivor with my fifteen-year-old and it was the best Mother’s Day I’ve had in many, many years.
The tribe has spoken.