Yesterday was Mother’s Day, which is one of my most favorite holidays because we try to cram a lifetime of appreciation into one day. Personally, I was a terrible child. Well…I was good when I was little…then I grew up to be a total turd. I’ve grown (a bit) since becoming an adult, but my past haunts me and the anxiety I suffer from clearly stems from the constant questioning of the decisions I have made in my past and the decisions yet to come. In short: I love my mom and wish I had been better when I was living under her roof.
Unable to change the past I must focus on the future, so Mother’s Day works great for me. A moment to pause and remember how amazing Mom was, a moment to say thanks and apologize for being a turd, and a moment to share in something fun we can do together. However, I am learning that Mother’s Day is completely different now that I have little kids and I am expected to not just give thanks to my mom…but give thanks to my wife on behalf of my kids who are too young to give thanks and think she is an endless sack of forgiving playtime and sustenance. Waaaaait a minute!!! How did I get duped into this? I have to feel guilty about being a bad child AND treat my wife with loving respect…all on the same day? That’s like patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time…try it…its harder than it sounds.
Moms love flowers and that was my plan: Flowers for both, activities they like, and wrangle the kids. I forgot to pick up flowers during the week and the kids were relentless in keeping me home on Saturday. Flowers were out. Okay, activities they like and wrangle the kids. The plan was to go to the Bartlett Arboretum Sunday but Mother Nature wanted to be funny and roll occasional spring showers through Kansas with a chilly wind. We nixed the Arboretum and decided we’d do brunch at a nice restaurant, swim at the grandparent’s house, and dinner at the club. All I had to do was wrangle the kids…it did not go to plan.
At brunch Dodge (2 months old) was good…for ten minutes. He then cried and screamed at the top of his lungs for the rest of brunch and only quieted when he was in my wife, Kate’s, lap. Max (2 years old) was very good till it was time to go and threw a mini-tantrum outside refusing to pose for the Mother’s Day picture. He hid in an alcove next to the restaurant where the source of his tantrum was discovered. Max took a man-sized dump in a toddler-sized diaper. When a two-year-old can clear an outdoor alcove on a breezy day due to smell…you know you are in for fun. The restaurant did not have changing tables in the bathrooms (seriously?) so we set our sights on Barnes And Noble which Max insisted he walk to with Kate…which meant bouncing the poo around for about the length of a football field. I put Dodge in the car and drove over…but once Dodge realized Mom was gone he erupted into uncontrollable screams of helplessness which no driving around the block and shushing could calm. Kate found me in the parking lot twenty minutes later standing outside the car in shambles as Dodge screamed bloody murder inside. On a side note, I must say the new Mercedes SUV is very well sound proofed as I could barely hear him from outside which was a blessing in this scenario. If Dodge is crying then Max has to fuss too, I jumped in the driver’s seat, and Kate perched in the back seat trying to feed Dodge and shush Max as we headed home.
Max slept for over three hours. Three hours! Kate put Dodge down for a nap and he passed out as well. Then she did too. This was my opportunity to get flowers! I could be that terrible husband/son at the market sifting through picked over bouquets of dying plant-like flower things that other terrible husbands/sons had left behind earlier. I’d given Kate a cartoon on this site, a card from the kids, and David Sedaris’s new book on CD to listen to in the car. I had given my mother a card from the kids, a card from me, and tickets to the garden show which we had a blast doing together last year. If could bring flowers to the pool party at their house I could actually pull it off and seem like a good son and husband. So I fell asleep and never made it to the market.
When Max woke up we had 40 minutes till dinner, so the pool party was out. I had missed my opportunity to get flowers. We had neither gone to the arboretum nor the yard party by the pool. I was failing at Mother’s Day. Then…Mother Nature did me a solid and “pop, pop, pop!” The irises bloomed in the back yard of our house! At dinner the kids were well-behaved and Max ate his entire dinner without whining! My dad and I took him out for a golf cart ride around the course and let him drive which he thought was awesome. Dodge coo’d for Kate and my mom at the dinner table, we drank fine wine, and had a great night. Max went to bed without issue and Dodge slept while Kate and I curled up and watched Game of Thrones on HBO. The irises from our yard sat snipped in a vase next to the couch…Kate got her Mother’s Day flowers after all.
While I never got to bring flowers to my mom yesterday I was able to think back on how amazing she is. I can remember her holding me in her arms during a summer rain when I had croup as a little boy. I can remember her driving me back and forth between my two schools. I can remember her taking care of me when I was sick. I remember her comforting me when I was sad. I remember her yelling at my principal when I was expelled and standing up for me when it seemed no one else would. I know how amazing her hair smells, how vigorous her hugs are, and how she always made me know I was loved. I have friends who lost their mothers recently and only have memories this year…so I know how fortunate I am to have a young/healthy mom who I can hug vigorously back. I also know that I am my mother’s son…but I have much to learn if I am ever going to be as good of a parent as she is. I’m pretty lucky to have the ladies I have in my life.
I’m sorry I didn’t bring you flowers Mom…the irises in our house smell terrible, but Kate thinks they are great.
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