Friday, May 11, 2007

You have to remember, Mom...

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.


Anonymous said...

One time...a long time ago, Your mother sang in a double quartet. The ladies all wore "pioneer" dresses, complete with bonnets. Each of had a card pinned to her dress with the number of children in her family.

Your mother was an exception. Hers said "ONLY 6"

Thought you would like to know.

Suzanne Reese said...

Is that you Vic? That's funny - thanks for sharing!