Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Presenting ... Mom

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone.  It’s a made-up Hallmark holiday, the kind where we all wake up and say, “Oh yeah...her.  the frazzled, frantic woman with the bleary eyes.  The one whose hair resembles Keith Richards’ because of her constant grabbing the sides of her head in an attempt to keep her brain from leaking out of her ears.  That chick.”

Yes, that chick.  And you know the reason her eyes are bleary from lack of sleep.  You know why her hair looks like an attempt gone wrong to emulate the Bride of Frankenstein.  It’s because of THEM.
The children.
Ah yes, our future.  Our delight.  Our pride and joy.  Those tiny little creatures who make us coo until the commencement of projectile puking that smells way too much like Kraft Parmesan Cheese.  The same creatures who grow into hulking teenage grouches who answer our questions with monosyllabic grunts.  Those people.
Mother’s Day. One day a year to look forward to during which we can expect to get something besides moldy forgotten food beneath the bed, socks stiffened with grime tucked in the least accessible corner of the closet, and piles of underwear tossed in the general vicinity of the hamper.  On Mother’s Day we still get all those things, but we get more pleasant items too.  Dinner in a restaurant.  Flowers.  Cards.  Actual eye contact from our kids. 
Presents.  Gifts.
If this is the day that moms can hope for a reason to skip the dishes and collect some doting regard, it’s also the day that strikes terror for men and older children.  What do you get the woman who carried life in her body, who endured a gazillion hours of labor to bring this being into the world, who works and slaves and provides bail money for her progeny when needed?  It had better be more than the sweat that such a question brings forth in bucket loads.  It’s got to be good, because if it isn’t, the guilt will kill you.  I know, because though I’m a mom, I also have one.  You gotta pay that woman for putting up with your crazy childhood (and beyond).  It’s not like Dad, who you can get away with buying a tie for.  Yeah, he’s done some important stuff too, but it’s Mom that can give you that look, that sigh, that expression of martyrdom that makes you crumble in agony.  Don’t disappoint her.
I could see the panic in my husband’s eyes as this last Mother’s Day approached.  Our son is still young enough that butterflies made of painted handprints on construction paper with a shaky “I love Mommy” crayoned across it will make the other 364 days of mayhem worthwhile.  But Hubs can’t get away with such things.  After all, I carried his son, the boy who will continue his name for posterity.  I waddled about with a 9-pound 6 and 1/2-ounce bundle of Re-Pete in my belly.  I underwent a C-section to release this child into the wild, sacrificing pristine flesh in his honor.  That deserves more than non-toxic paint prints arranged into abstract-like art from the man who did this to me.
The responsibility to adequately show his gratitude weighed heavily upon this poor creature.  He finally broke under the strain.
“What can I give to you, O Goddess of mine?” he beseeched with much tearing of hair and weeping of eyes.  For once, he looked like me.
Okay, so it wasn’t like that.  He has never once referred to me as O Goddess.  I sometimes hear him mutter “Oh hell,” under his breath, and he may be referring to me.  I’ve never been brave enough to ask.
At any rate, the question of what I wanted for Mother’s Day was presented.  And even I was at a loss.  My birthday had just come and gone, with all my immediate retail-oriented wishes granted.  What was I to ask for?
I could have asked for shoes.  I love shoes.  I love shoes to the tune of nearly 30 pair already.  The average woman owns 20 pair, I’ve read.  Okay, so no more shoes (even though I really do need them).
Clothes?  Well, I’ve already taken over most of our closet.  I’ve been eyeballing my son’s closet for some time now.  Come on, do my husband and kid really need to have a place to keep their things?  According to them, they do.  No more clothes then.
A fine, expensive wine?  Ah, I love wine.  And I’m a mom, so it does seem to be one of life’s essentials.  But then again, I don’t want booze to become too essential.  Plus we already have several bottles ready for duty as soon as the kid is in bed.  Okay, no more wine.
Jewelry?  Something nice and sparkly to go with my grim visage as I scrub another stain left by spilled juice?  Something pretty that will draw the eye from my standing-on-end hair?  Something for those moments when I'm yelling about spilling-over garbage, something for my husband to point at in mute testimony  as to how much he really loves me?  Something expensive enough to grant him a 'Get Out of the Doghouse Free' card for every little thing?
Bingo.  And to make it extra Mother’s Day special-y, it was a necklace featuring my son’s birthstone.  Crisis averted.  Another Mother’s Day has been successfully navigated in my household, much to everyone’s relief.
Moms, I hope you had a great day too...and that you get more than one in the year to come.  Plus jewelry.  I hope you get jewelry.

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