Among the reasons why I love my mother, her contempt for Mother's Day is in the top 10.
The year is 1983, and our dad has arranged for us to have Mother's Day dinner at Pautipaug Country Club, where he plays golf. The Southeastern Connecticut Restaurant scene of the early 80's left something to be desired, and even if there was decent dining, it would be wasted on a family with 3 sullen kids ages 11-16.
Here's what I remember about that dinner. Though we had a reservation, it took forever to be seated. When we finally got seated, it took forever for a server to take our order. Walking back from the salad bar with a woven-wood bowl overflowing with iceberg lettuce, pickled beets, creamy italian dressing and bacon bits, my dress shoes lost traction on the parquet floor. In the middle of the dining room, my permed head and pubescent body hit the ground, the spoils of the salad bar decorating my dropped waist, bat-mitzvah-party-and-Jewish holiday dress, white, with red and blue piping. Coming back to the table, hoping for sympathy, I found only schadenfreude from my brother and embarrassment from my parents and sister. To add insult to injury, we waited another hour for our food. Maybe it wasn't an hour, but it was long enough for my dad to throw his napkin down, mutter "This is ridiculous", and tell us to all get up, we were leaving. Unfed.
Pautipaug 1, Rosenbergs 0.
Once we were in the car my mother, who had been quietly seething for the most part until now, unleashed, "I HATE MOTHER'S DAY, I HAVE ALWAYS HATED MOTHER'S DAY, AND I NEVER, EVER WANT TO DO THIS AGAIN!", or some expletive-filled approximation of this sentiment.
From that day, we have never celebrated Mother's Day in any conventional way again, but the retelling of the Pautipaug Incident is now a family tradition, and at least once a year this story is paraded out to be embellished, argued and laughed over, and generally savored. It's the reason why I (sometimes, but not often enough) send a "just because I love you, has nothing to do with any kind of holiday created by the greeting card industry" card in the second week of May.
Another reason why I love my mother, which ranks much higher than her aversion to Mother's Day, is because she is a superb cook who taught me to love food and cooking. There is no dish that she does not ace, but if I had to choose one meal to eat for the rest of my life, it would probably be her chicken cutlets with rice. A couple of years back, I made a Bobbie's Boat Sauce rendition. It's good, but it's not hers. Which is probably exactly what mother wants to hear about their cooking.
Happy Second Sunday In May, Mom. I love you very, very much.