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She did cartwheels with the girls who lived in the white house across the street.
My mother is in nearly all of my earliest childhood memories. She encouraged me to paint, explore calligraphy, and use pipe cleaners to make frogs and ladybugs. She loved when I sang and danced and rode horses and did backflips off the diving board.
When I was sick, my mother brought the black-and-white television into my bedroom along with a little bell, which she told me to ring if I needed anything. On those miserable days, I watched My Three Sons and The Don Ho Show until my mother emerged with green medicine and Campbell’s Chicken Noodle Soup served on a swirly green and blue plastic tray.
One day, I didn’t want to be my mother’s twin anymore.
Pink and yellow were not my colors.
I remember shouting and slamming doors: the tears.
I saw my mother throw her hands up, exhausted, not knowing what else to do.
I felt powerful then. Driving her to pain and chaos was fun.
Now that I have a teenager in the house, I want to tell my mother, I’m sorry. Because I see how precious it is, that time when our children are young. And what a gift it is, to let a mother hold on to the little things for another day, another year.
Because it hurts when our children reject our cuddles.
Because it was cruel to play with her heart.
Even when I didn’t give her any credit, my mother has remained steadfast, guiding me with an invisible hand.
She still is.
I suspect she always will be.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.
Hey mom, you have two good hands. And from the looks of this photo, you knew how to style your own hair. Do you think you could have done something with mine? Seriously. Also, if you still have that hat, can I have borrow it? xoxoRASJ
When Monkey was entering kindergarten, he had to take a pre-screening test.
The shriveled woman sitting at a tiny desk asked him to draw a stick figure of a person, which he did perfectly. (Well, the arms were coming out of the head, but he remembered arms and hands and a few fingers.) She asked if he could recite his ABC’s (which, of course, he did because I had taught them to him.) She asked if he could spell his first and last name, and he could. (Well, at least his first name.) She asked him to count as high as he could, and then she gently told him he could stop… when he hit 50.
Sitting in the back of the room, I beamed.
Because I had taught him to count to 50.
Then Monkey and the tired, old test giver chatted it up a bit, during which time I assumed she was assessing his overall intellectual and emotional readiness.
(I swear I almost bowed and said, “Thank you! Thank you very much!)
Then Mrs. Tester asked Monkey a question.
“Tell me about your parents. What does your father do?”
And while he started simply enough, my child launched into a four-minute speech about what his daddy does every day at work. “My dad fixes eyes,” said my son, bursting with pride, making my spouse sound like the savior to all people born with eyes (which, let’s face it, is pretty much everyone, right?)
Four minutes is a really long time to listen to someone talk.
When they are not talking about you.
But that’s what I did.
Because secretly I was excited. I figured, well, if Monkey said all that about a man who’s home for three hours of his day, I can’t wait to hear what he is going to say about me. After all, I am the one who feeds him and bathes him and wipes his butt and cares for him when he is sick. (Except barf. Hubby takes care of all barf.) I am the one who shleps him to his activities and his play dates. I am the one who takes him to museums to introduce him to art. I am the one who reads to him and cuddles with him before naps and at bedtime. I am the one who plays games with him and makes grocery shopping and doing laundry fun.
Finally Mrs. Tester asked, “What does your mommy do?”
Monkey shifted around in his seat.
Except for the creak from his chair, the room was silent.
I sat at the back of the room and watched Monkey scratch his head.
“She talks on the phone a lot.”
What? My brain was silently screaming. What is that little freak talking about?!
I will not tell you about the ride home, where I asked Monkey to explain his big choke how he got stuck explaining what it is that I do ever day. About how he rationally explained that daddy was the one who made the money, and he really couldn’t figure out how to explain what I did.
Now, it is obviously not fair to dump all this on the child. Hubby is not the best facilitator when it comes to Mother’s Day. This is because he generally golfs on Sundays. And since Hubby is out playing with his wood relaxing with his boys, there is no one to oversee the “special last-minute Mother’s Day present making” in our house, and I’m not about to pull out the markers and demand, “Make me something to show me how much you love me!”
Let’s just say I have learned to keep my expectations for Mother’s Day kinda low.
Don’t get me wrong, my boy loves me.
I don’t really need a special day for him to show it. And, to be fair, Hubby always comes through with some kind of brunch.
(You know, after golf.)
Plus I have faith that one day, when he is a daddy, Monkey will have that moment of clarity that only comes while pacing across the floor at a ridiculous hour while cradling a fragile, little person who frickin’ refuses to sleep.
He will groggily realize, “My mom did this for me.”
And as the guilt gratitude washes over him in that late hour, perhaps he will consider ordering me some overpriced flowers from over the Internet.
Maybe he will even consider calling me.
And that reminds me.
I should probably call my mother.
How does Mother’s Day go at your house?What did you get that rocked your world? (Or didn’t.) Tell me everything. I’m living vicariously.