Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

Muthahs

In 2015 I wrote a Mother’s Day post about finally getting over a Mother’s Day thing that happened when the kid was 4.  What can I say, I only have one kid, so I hold grudges, sue me. Then I had a run of Mother’s Days focused on my mother and mother-in-law, crossing state lines with the mother-in-law and kid in tow. These were mostly logistical events to endure. However, in that post, I finally just had a nice day with me and the teenager. No meltdowns over pancakes, no on location Oscars-level ceremony logistics, just movie and ice cream on the beach.

Then the kid went off to college, and it was a rough ride, and this time last year, he was in a bad place. Mother’s Day was only a reminder that I am always a mother, for better or worse. And this was definitely on the worse side. We had an intense summer, patched him back together and hoped for the best last fall.

The wheel of life and Mother’s Day keeps turning and here we are a year later. Now, it’s my almost 90-year-old mom who needs more attention, so my road trip included her, and then I went on to see the kid at his school. I’ve been a more attentive mother this year / feeling guilty and making up for it, so I knew he was in a better place, but let’s just say the kid has never been happy go lucky. Being in a good place can just mean he’s not miserable. That’s pretty much what I hope for. Not miserable.

And at first that’s pretty much what I got. I was there to pick up some of his stuff since he is coming home in a week. There was a lot of silence as he packed up, but it was cool because he didn’t look miserable. Mission accomplished. I wasn’t on mother red alert like I was last year. He finished and we went to lunch. I’m used to his silences, and I was tired from the trip to see my mother, so I thought it was all going pretty good.

And then he started to talk.

I went very still, like when a wild animal approaches you, and you know if you make any move, you’ll scare them off. So I held back my mother inclination to respond, and kept very, very quiet. And he continued to talk, mostly about the music he is listening to. He seemed to be comfortable, so I finally allowed myself small responses — you know that woman thing we do to encourage the speaker, which men don’t really need, but I’m a muthah, so I can’t help it.  “Wow, that’s interesting!” “How cool!”

It lasted pretty much the entire lunch. You could have knocked me over with a feather, and I wasn’t even drinking.

He apologized for not getting me a card, but he had been busy studying. I told him I didn’t want or need a card, and he had given me a great gift by sharing his music with me. Even that blatant, embarrassing show of affection didn’t seem to throw him off.

Being a mother has made me learn a lot of crap I’d rather not, but it does have its moments. And sometimes they can even be way better than not miserable.

Photo credit: https://thegraphicsfairy.com/10-free-vintage-mothers-day-images/ 

Some Post-Muthah’s Day Thoughts

I know Mother’s Day was last week, but I was busy with Jesus Christ Superstar, and as I’m a muthah 365 days a year, I didn’t feel the need to rush. Also, there is so much Mother’s Day lovers and haters hoopla now on the internet, I’m only just now poking my head out over the motherhood sandbagged front line to see if it’s safe. A ceasefire seems to have been called. At least until May 2016 or the next “Lean In to Tiger Mother Hidden Dragon” book.

I hold on to things, I admit it. It’s not my best trait, but there it is. When my son was about four, all I wanted to do for Mother’s Day was go to IHOP for breakfast. That’s it. But my kid being four, he wasn’t really into it. I got that time-honored whiny lament, “There’s a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day, but when is it Kid’s Day?” To which every parent on the planet will say, “Every day is effin’ kid’s day, you little S.O.B.!” But when your kid is four and has an overdeveloped sense of fairness based in concrete words, it’s hard to explain. I should have stayed home and made myself breakfast (screw everyone else, it’s MY day!) and enjoyed myself. But that seemed too much like giving in to my kid’s complaining, so what’s the right thing to do? I have no idea, but it definitely was not what I ended up doing—drag us all to IHOP, wait for 45 minutes to sit down, and then have a silent, crabby breakfast, while my kid refused to eat anything. I know, right about now my parent’s generation is shaking their heads, and everyone who parents better than I do is rolling eyeballs and running to a computer to write their new blog, “10 Things Today’s Parent Are Doing Completely, Utterly Wrong, Please Arrest Them.” You’ll have to forgive my choices, I get confused a lot because I’m either being accused of being too permissive or I’m not being protective enough; honestly, it’s hard to keep track.

But I digress.

So that Mother’s Day was pretty much a disaster. Then my then-mother-in-law moved to be closer to us, so Mother’s Day became focused mostly on her and my own mother. I was more the coordinator for celebrating the senior mothers, and that was OK. Because honestly, every year all I could think about was that miserable hour and a half spent trying to have breakfast and being painfully reminded that mothering is hard. And perhaps it’s even harder on that day when you’re supposed to be “honored,” but more often than not you’re glaring at your incredibly ungrateful offspring over a giant stack of cooling pancakes and congealed bacon.

It was my coworker who set me straight. Near Mother’s Day  a number of years ago, but a decent number of years after “The IHOP Incident,” I was recounting said incident and explaining why I didn’t really like to make Mother’s day plans. My coworker, also a mother, waited a moment, then looked me in the eye and said, “Lucas was four. You gotta let that go.” And she was right. The story had taken over every opportunity to do something different.

But then I got divorced, and there’s nothing more awkward than the years of  pre-during-post divorce Mothers’ Days. This year I was finally able to at least contemplate a baggage-free Mother’s Day, and when another coworker suggested a trip to the beach for ice cream, it sounded perfect. We used to live around the corner from the beach, and now we live two miles away, and you know how that goes. I know people who travel hours to get to the beach want to slap me right now, and you’d be absolutely right to do so, which made it all the more reason to go.

On Friday before Mother’s Day, my son said his sci-fi appreciating English teacher recommend a movie, “Ex Machina.” I’d read a review of it in the newspaper (how old school of me, I know) and thought it sounded cool. Then because I seem more inclined to read reviews and not get my ass up and out to actually see the movie, I promptly forgot all about it. But Lucas was up for seeing a movie with his old ma, so that’s what we did, and then went to the beach for ice cream. Perfect.

That’s the Facebook version.

The real version is we went to the movie (which I highly recommend if you’re into movies that look at the morality of creating an artificial intelligence in a mind-twisting way) and then we had a brief but significant discussion about the ending and the consequences of the characters’ actions. Anyone with a teenager will understand that is like winning the parental lottery. Significant, meaningful discussion. About emotions. With a teen. Yeah. Then we went to the beach for ice cream , and by that I mean we crawled 5 miles an hour looking for a parking space. We found a 15-minute one, pulled over got the ice cream and made it back to the car in 14 minutes. Then we pulled out and proceeded to crawl 5 miles an hour to the end of the beach and then headed home. I did get to see and smell the beach and had ice cream with my kid with nary a whine or glare. Perfect.

Photo credit: Sanctuary Yoga 

The Original Funny Writing Mom: Erma Bombeck

I almost didn’t want to write about Mother’s Day, because 1) it’s technically over, and 2) it seems best suited for those natural earth mother types — you know, they have always known they wanted kids and have a total lack of fear of being responsible for producing a functioning human being. They seem to thrive in the chaos and intensity of it all, and have absolutely no fear of various bodily fluids. I am not that mother. I am the mother who hides her fears of failure in irreverence, which must be why I have always loved Erma Bombeck, the original irreverent mother/writer. I followed her newspaper column as a kid and it made me and my mom laugh. And though she is no longer a household name to anyone under the age of 45 and some of her writing is dated, she can still make me laugh. So here’s a little post-Mother’s Day homage to Erma. Thank you for making motherhood real and really funny. These quotes and more are posted on Brainy Quote. Learn more about Erma here. 

Never have more children than you have car windows.

One thing they never tell you about child raising is that for the rest of your life, at the drop of a hat, you are expected to know your child’s name and how old he or she is.

When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he’s doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911.

Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.

All of us have moments in our lives that test our courage. Taking children into a house with a white carpet is one of them.

In general my children refuse to eat anything that hasn’t danced in television.

I take a very practical view of raising children. I put a sign in each of their rooms: ‘Checkout Time is 18 years.

Onion rings in the car cushions do not improve with time.

Youngsters of the age of two and three are endowed with extraordinary strength. They can lift a dog twice their own weight and dump him into the bathtub.

Being a child at home alone in the summer is a high-risk occupation. If you call your mother at work thirteen times an hour, she can hurt you.

Photo credit: Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop