by Libby Hellmann
by Libby Hellmann
I am not a Mother’s Day person. To me it’s always been one of those made-up, Hallmark holidays that primarily benefits florists, restaurants, and card makers. Not that that’s inherently a bad thing, but why hang the angst and emotion of parenting or being parented on a lovely Sunday in May? Why not just have a “Buy-a-Card-or-Flowers-or-Go-Out-To-Eat-day?”
I never thought of myself as having “mother issues.” My own mother rocks, and I'm the mother of two wonderful kids myself. Yet I’ve felt guilty for not considering Mother’s Day a “real” holiday for a long time, and I never quite knew why. Then, a few years ago, FLASH… EUREKA moment – it came to me.
I was about 12 when the mother of one of my friends committed suicide. Mother’s Day was about a month after that, and my friend spent the night at our house. I usually picked flowers from our rhododendron and azalea bushes and arranged them on a breakfast tray we carried up to my mother, but that year I remember feeling very self conscious about it. I had a mother, but she didn’t, and I didn’t want to remind her of it. At the same time, I didn’t know what to do. Should I ignore the holiday? Forego the bouquet and the breakfast tray and pretend it was just another day? Or should I do what I normally did on Mother’s Day? I remember settling for half measures. I did pick the flowers, but I made sure to say. “oh, it’s no big deal.” As if I picked flowers for my mother every day.
Of course it was a big deal. For both of us. And I don’t know if I did the right thing. Probably not. She and I never discussed it. Like many people from one’s childhood, we’re not in touch any more. But I wonder.
That memory surfaced again when I heard about Drew Peterson's arrest. Yes, I’m glad that he’s finally being held accountable for his third wife’s murder. And I think his red jump suit, private shower, and 90 minutes of exercise a day at the Will County jail are probably more than he deserves. More to the point, though, I’d like to know how HE observed Mother’s Day. He’s accused of killing Kathleen Savio, the mother of two of his children. And he’s the major suspect in the disappearance of Stacy, the mother of his two other kids.
So, how did he celebrate the day? Before he was arrested, did he honor the memory of his kids' mothers? Or did he ignore the holiday altogether... pretend it was just another day? Come to think of it, what does he say when his kids ask about their mothers? Or, in Stacy’s case, when she’s coming back? Does he tell them they were the best mothers in the world? Or does he tell them they were bad mothers and thank god they’re out of the way? Are there moments on Mother’s Day when he feels uncomfortable in his own skin? Even guilty?
Probably not. Sociopaths rarely do. I’m sure whatever answers he gives his kids are about as credible and persuasive as the rest of his lies. But I’d sure like to hear him weasel his way through them.
What do you think? What’s Mother’s Day to you? And what about Drew Peterson? Are you glad he's in jail? What about his kids?