Mother's Day with Rebecca Eckler

Mother's Day with Rebecca Eckler

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Excerpt from Blissfully Blended Bullshit by Rebecca Eckler:

 

 

“I’m cancelling Mother’s Day forever,” I say to Boyfriend, as we stand in the backyard on my third or fourth Mother’s Day in a blended family and I’m in tears. We spent the majority of the day celebrating Boyfriend’s mother and my mother at a brunch at my house, and I’m exhausted. My daughter wrote me a wonderful, heartfelt card, saying how much she loves me. My parents and Boyfriend’s parents have given me cards and flowers. And, yes, Boyfriend has bought me a beautiful bracelet. And, yet, this year, it’s just not enough. Why? It’s now ten o’clock at night and I haven’t heard a peep from Boyfriend’s daughters, who of course are spending the day with their mother. 

“They probably are just busy with their mom and grandparents,” Boyfriend tells me. 

“Too busy to send even a one-line text?” I shoot back. His daughters, now teenagers, are normally stuck to their phones like barnacles, so I find it hard to believe they haven’t picked up their phones once today. 

I’m not sure what to expect from them, exactly, but I know that I have to lower my expectations when it comes to celebrations, be it my birthday, Mother’s Day, our anniversary, or pretty much every celebration. I get great joy celebrating other people, and I guess I expect the same back. Tsk tsk, me. 

I watch Boyfriend typing something into his phone, and within seconds, my phone beeps. 

“Happy Mother’s Day, Rebecca,” his eldest daughter texts, with a heart emoji. Ten seconds later, my phone beeps again. 

“Happy Mother’s Day, Rebecca!” his other daughter texts.

I stare at him blankly.
I’m not a fucking idiot. Clearly he just texted his girls, reminding them to text me. While I appreciate him having my back, I can’t help but wish he said to his children, “Maybe wait a bit?” so that it wasn’t exceedingly obvious that they didn’t do it of their own volition. 

When it comes to Father’s Day, I make sure that my daughter makes Boyfriend a card. She does so without question, and what she writes to him is so beautiful and thoughtful, it melts my heart. So why aren’t I getting the same kind of love back from Boyfriend’s children on Mother’s Day? 

The texts would have been great if I’d found them as soon as I woke up. But with just two hours before Mother’s Day ends, and in the wake of an obvious message from their father, the effort (if I can call it that) feels insincere. Probably because, let’s be fucking real, the fact that they needed to be told makes it exactly that. 

Maybe I have expectations because it wasn’t always like this. One Mother’s Day, I received a text from one of Boyfriend’s daughters at 10 a.m. It isn’t until much later, after blending, that it occurs to me that it wasn’t that they didn’t like me or didn’t think of me, but they probably had no idea what to say to me or whether they should say anything at all. They have their own mother, who they are extremely loyal to. I’m also reminded of my friend, the one who grew up with a wonderful stepfather and still found Father’s Day tricky because she didn’t want to give him a card that said “Dad” on it, since he wasn’t her dad. Maybe Boyfriend’s girls just don’t feel comfortable giving me a card that says “Mom” on it because I’m not their mom. 

“I think it takes a special person to be a step-parent,” my friend tells me when I say my Mother’s Day sucked because I was disappointed that Boyfriend’s daughters failed to acknowledge me. Obviously, I haven’t quite grasped how to lower my expectations. “You have to have an enormous amount of love and devotion to your partner and have a really big heart to really let the kids in. I always say my stepfather didn’t have to love me, but he chose to,” she says. 

Rebecca Eckler

Posted by Dundurn Guest on September 18, 2018

Rebecca Eckler

Rebecca Eckler is one of Canada's best-known journalists and authors. She is the international bestselling author of Knocked Up, Toddlers Gone Wild, Wiped!, and How to Raise a Boyfriend. Rebecca lives in Toronto.