Mother's Day is a great time for remembering mom. If all goes well. But t can also be a great time for mom to get a reality check. Like the time I went to a church meeting on Mother's Day and the speaker said in a glowing report that in his ten years of marriage he'd never once seen his house messy. I don't know what else he said, I was just stuck on that sentence. In the same decade that my husband and I had been together, I think he saw it clean maybe once or twice.
So another decade has passed since the perfect-wife assault and I've given up on the whole feel-guilty-about-my-housekeeping-skills thing. Boring people keep clean houses. My friend recently said that and I love it. As a matter of fact, I've been going along thinking I might just be pretty successful at this whole mothering job, until last week. I was driving my usually-sweet fifteen-year-old home from school, and she asked me what I want for mother's day. That is sweet, isn't it?
But before I go on with the story, I have to backtrack a bit. For my first twenty years of mothering, I used the standard, "I don't need anything" line for mother's day. But since I have mothers too, I am sympathetic to how utterly unhelpful that is. My mother and mother-in-law are both getting flowers, by the way, which I think is totally fine. But I have raised very practical children who hate to spend their hard-earned and meager supply of money on anything frivolous. So last year, when posed the question, I pointed out that many supplies in my kitchen could stand to be replaced - my measuring cups have the amounts worn off, the spatulas are ragged, wooden spoons are stained with red jello, etc. So on mother's day I got a nice collection of measuring devices and tools that I have enjoyed all year. This year I was out in my yard doing some work and realized that I could use some tools out there. In fact, as I worked, I could think of a whole list of things that would come in handy.
Which brings me to my daughter's question of what I wanted for mother's day. My answer was, "All kinds of things." I should point out that I was smiling and using a teasing voice. Please tell me you can hear the teasing in my voice? Because my daughter's reply was, "You always want tons of stuff." Shall I say that again? "You always want tons of stuff." That's right. That's what she said. When I pressed her for what she was talking about, she referred to the measuring cups, spoons, and spatulas from last year. We're not exactly talking diamonds! I wanted to say that. But I didn't. I was just stunned.
Then she said my favorite quote of the week. "You have to remember Mom, you only have five kids." Yes. That is really, truly, what she said. I only have five kids. I'm thinking that about a week after she's given birth to her second child will be the perfect moment to give her a copy of this blog. Only five kids.
My vindication came last weekend when all the children were gathered, and they asked me what I wanted for mother's day. They were properly mortified when I repeated the conversation with their sister. They sent her out of the room in order to extract the gardening hint out of me.
I don't know what I'll end up getting, although I have a pretty good idea about the little package my second-grader brought home from school today. And that's all I really want - a little reminder that I matter. After all, I only have five kids.