I spent Mother’s Day with my mother, even though I’m a mother and should probably spend it with my own kids. But every year, my mother’s day present to myself, as well as to her, is to take her out to dinner and spend the night at her house – a night with only two needy beings, one who needs me occasionally to help heave her out of a chair, the other, the equivalent of a furry toddler who can’t be away from me even when I have to pee. (Poodle Pup and I fight over who will get to the toilet paper roll first.)
So I took my mother out to dinner, and it was a night of few worries, beyond her teetering a bit more than usual after a Dewars on the rocks at our favorite restaurant that still serves my deceased father’s favorite, mud pie. (Beyond the worry I now have, about the tupperware container of dog food I forgot in her fridge; I hope she doesn’t mistake it for one of the “awful” dishes her aide leaves her. Rotting hummus perhaps, which she may call in a few days to complain about, not remembering my own call, to warn her about the tupperware container of dog food.)
But outside of an intimate mother-daughter meal, and an evening free of nagging the boys to brush their teeth, Mother’s Day is annoying. It reminds me of all the other beings who need me in ways that can feel like too much. As when at night I cannot talk Little Bro out of his fear of the aliens under his bed, even by suggesting we try to befriend them, along with the dust bunnies and a long-forgotten stuffed zebra. When Daddy despairs at lack of clean underwear.
And it’s annoying because kids are kids, and rarely on their own will show the initiative to build Momma an amazing clay sculpture or weave her a potholder. Kids take for granted that their moms live and breathe our polluted earthly airs for the sake of seeing them safely cross the fragile threshold into adulthood, when we finally can risk smoking that cigarette that might give us cancer. Or sit in the sun unburdened by greasy 200% broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, because our kids now only visit. When we can be ok with being taken for granted.
Daddy tried to get them to make me Mother’s Day cards – they told me so.
“We didn’t have to because we did it in school,” they gloated, as if he’d asked them to do the dishes.
So thank god for annual school projects of cutesy Mother’s Day sponge-painted wood frames of their smiling faces, or foam butterflies:
This year however, Big Bro was “assigned” to write a poem about his mother.
He’d been warning me about this one for a while. “I’m writing a poem about you.”
I could imagine it. How he fears I’ll sneak him a freshly baked cookie with egg in it now that we know he’s no longer allergic to eggs, although he is still too afraid to eat them.
How I can slam doors as hard as he can.
How I’m “mean” because I won’t buy him some kind of $200 “waffle” privileges on the hottest computer game, MineCraft, so he can have flying rights and build bigger buildings and more powerful weapons.
The poem was actually a nice surprise. Besides my being “incredibly caring” and loving to read books, I evidently have a “bunch of talent,” because I like to weave scarves.
Most of all, the “strength” of my love and “kindness help him “a lot.”
Now, that’s nice to hear. As I don’t necessarily feel I am so strong and particularly kind most days. At least not most school mornings when I’m barking at them to brush their teeth. Nagging Big Bro to throw out his popsicle sticks stuck to the coffee table, and Little Bro to pick up his magic thumb before the dog eats it.