Dear Dr. Heartlander --
I'm dreading Mother's Day once again because it makes me feel awkward and sad for my for Aunt Esther - a dear relative and gentle soul who loves Victorian novels, afternoon tea and breakfast plates with food arranged in the shape of happy faces.
Aunt Esther has been like a mother to me while my biological mother, her sister Grace, (I refuse to call her "mom"), has been traveling the world as a Cher impersonator. Grace's stated reason for getting into the business? Bright lights and free drinks.
Each Mother's Day since I turned 16, Grace pauses her never-ending tour to present herself on our doorstep to be feted and fussed over, claiming that she's making up for lost time since she skipped Mother's Day in my earliest years because I was so selfish and needy. But now that I'm 19 I am apparently old enough to do something sufficiently "fabulous" with her in observation of this significant day.
Dr. Heartlander, the past three years I've feigned illness to avoid the stress of facing this uncomfortable situation, and this year I'm genuinely sick with worry. Not only is poor Aunt Esther not getting the attention she deserves, but as a person who is accustomed to the life of a Cher impersonator, Grace has highly unrealistic expectations when it comes to having a good time. Flowers and a nice brunch don't seem to impress her - I think she's hoping for something glitzy and spangly, possibly involving cocktails and dancing motorcycle dudes in skin tight leather.
But that's only a guess. Though Grace gave birth to me, I don't really know her. Plus, she insists on calling me "Chastity" even though that's not my name.
Dr. Heartlander, what can I do to properly observe this day? There is only one mother's day and I think of myself has having only one mother, though technically I am her niece.
Aunt Esther's Girl
I told Aunt Esther's girl she should celebrate Mother's Day in the way that feels best to her and not worry about the expectations of others. Perhaps Grace will be disappointed, but anyone still working as a Cher impersonator today has already found a way to deal with rejection. Bookings are simply not what they used to be, and it's not just a side effect of a bad economy. Perhaps that's the real reason she has decided to re-enter your life - loneliness and that continuing, insatiable need to be adored. Of course, it's never too late to make room for the person who gave birth to you, but be honest! Is there some place you could take both of them? A biker bar where they serve waffles?
If you time it right, Sunday brunch might dovetail into happy hour - then everybody could get what they want.
But that's only one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Heartlander?