From: email@example.com (Mumthra)
Subject: Smother's Day
Date: 08 May 1999 00:00:00 GMT
It was an ugly morning here. Everyone was in a sort of shock state
from getting enough sleep, so that we all overslept and became surly
with the imperatives of breakfast and socks.
The general breakfast rule is that you eat the same thing every day
until you are SO sick of it that you remember to tell me before I fix
it yet again. Today was the magical day before the LAST DAY, so that
everyone realized a moment too late that they didn't order what they
wanted. Musical breakfasts resolved most of the trouble without my
Sparky was despondent from the start. She changed her mind about
wearing her best dress to school, concerned that she wouldn't be able
to enjoy recess properly in her finest finery. The night before, she
was adamant that she wanted to dress up for the Mother's Day Muffins
for Mom party. By morning she was just as adamant that shorts were the
I brought her an outfit; her last clean matching shorts and shirt. I'd
nearly thrown them out when I realized that these new clothes were
responsible for dyeing and entire load of laundry blue, but it was
just so damned cute that I thought that one more wearing would redeem
it a little bit before it was no more. I'm such an optimist.
Everyone was miraculously dressed and brushed and shod in the nick of
time when I realized that the baby was still in pajamas. Fine. She
could ride in her jammies, because we had places to BE.
First we deposited Sparky at the elementary, then booted Spunky at a
friend's house for a ride to preschool. Back home we met Gramma and
had just enough time to dress Bo before I would zoom back to the
elementary again have a muffin, retrieve Gramma and the baby, leave
the baby in the nursery and arrive in time for Mother's Day Tea with
Naturally, my car was running on empty for the entire rounds.
Gramma was blessedly on time, so I headed for my first party of the
day at 9:20. All the way to the school, I muttered to myself about
Mother's Day. Who the fuck is responsible for this mess? Why should I
have to strain myself to be in too many places just for some kind of
annual thank-you gesture? Big fucking deal. I'm a mother, yeah, and I
pay ENOUGH thankyouverymuch. Every fucking day is Mother's Day.
Muttering and grumbling, I walked through the rain, dampening my
sandals and listening to my hair frizz. I stalked into Sparky's
classroom and was almost instantly glad that I'd bothered.
The children were squirmy with anticipation, including my normally
composed Sparky. I was amazed that she plopped herself in my lap in
front of all her friends and equally amazed by the collection of
handmade mommy tributes she began to explain to me. I wondered if I
was impersonating some other REAL parent, but it was pleasant just the
same. First she showed me a page she wrote called "My Mom is Special."
My Mom is special because she is very, very, very nice. I
like it when my Mom gives me candy! My Mom can do many
things! I think she's best at singing. My Mom has a pretty
smile! I like to make her smile by doing funny things. My
Mom is as pretty as a butterfly. My Mom is smart! She even
knows how to say the longest word I know.
I was appalled at how much it pleased me. "Very, very, very nice"? She
can't be serious! That must be the "Mom" who gives her candy that gets
the superlatives. However peculiar her perceptions are, it was a very,
very, very nice description. I particularly liked the way she
capitalized "Mom" in Godlike fashion.
For being among the 50% Super Dooper Moms who showed up for the party,
I got a guided tour of the class projects and a chance to pick myself
out of a line up of stick figure drawings. I recognized my artist's
style right off. My portrait was complete with purple sneakers and red
earrings and fingers, so it was easy to spot. I don't actually wear
those, except for the fingers, but now I know how Sparky would dress
me if she was given the chance.
Sparky refused to let me bring home my chore coupons and tributes. She
wanted to carry them herself after school. Again amazed at her willing
goodbye kiss, I left thinking that it would only be a few years before
she refuses to admit she knows me when we're in public.
I was really ready for The Tea after all that. Gramma volunteered to
pay to put gas in the car and I had to reassure her that we'd make it
with gallons to spare.
We could hear Spunky's class long before we saw them. They exploded
into The Tea room. We had glittery placemats and tissue wrist
corsages, hand made pins and huge Mother's Day cards AND a potted
plant to honor our motherhood. Along with these, Spunky had made a
little book about me. It was covered with a portrait that was eerily
similar to the one her sister had made.
My mommy's favorite color is red and purple and all the
colors that she sees. My mommy's favorite foods are
carrots and celery. The thing that my Mommy and I like
to do together most is play with toys and draw pictures.
My Mommy and my favorite place to go is the playground.
What I love most about my mommy is the way she kisses me.
My Mommy looks so pretty when she wears dresses. My
Mommy is 16 years old. She is 5'4" tall. She weighs 60
There were lots of chuckles over the statistics. Lots of mothers were
described as being six feet tall and ten years old; reasonable
estimates from four-year-olds, I guess.
They fed us and serenaded us, although a little stampede of
nervousness broke up the middle of the choral performance. One at a
time, the little girls broke ranks and flung themselves at their
beloved mommies. Some were coaxed back to the group, while others just
whimpered from comfy laps through the rest of the musical program.
Spunky caught the bug and came to me, but she wasn't really
distressed. I got her back to the front of the room, but I had to stay
and kneel with her to urge her to croon "You Are My Sunshine." Gramma
I wept from laughter during the group portrait attempts. All the
mommies lined up in front to immortalize our school year of sweating,
confusing and complaining together. Three of the grandmothers were in
charge of the photography.
"No, mom, the lens cap is ON...It was blinking! What did you
do?...Mom...Mom...Turn the camera around and--here let me see that..."
Mother's day MEANS photography.
After all the nibbling and compliments, the children went back to
their class to wrap up the educational part of their morning. The
mommies fell on the clean up with gusto. In five minutes the food had
vanished, the chairs had been swept away, and a sort of disassembly
line formed to collapse the tables and haul them back across the hall.
The damned tables must have weighed 150 pounds--certainly more than
most of us were estimated to weigh. As each pair of mommies arrived
with a table, I wished them a happy Mother's Day.
Gramma's comment: "Well, that was certainly frantic."
The little girls passed out in the back of the car on the way home, so
we finally bought gas and lunch in a leisurely but vewwy quiet manner.
While Gramma browsed the deli, I had lots of time to look around at
the parking lot. I saw three different men eating and/or sleeping in
their cars. Is this what people do with their lunch hour in the
country? Have I found a secret drive-in living space? Do they EVER
leave their cars?
My Mother's Day gift from my mother was an enormous two-meal reuben
sandwich and a great deal of patience. She even had the patience to
hang around until Sparky got home with her Mother's Day goodies.
Gramma even made sure than everyone got their own man-shaped cookie,
which I noticed we all ate head first.
Following frantic cookies, there was more outdoor frantic play. I
heard someone say something about a hose. I'm pretty sure.
First I saw Spunky, drenched and dripping, and I was only mildly
annoyed. After all, she'd only changed her clothes three times and was
sort of DUE for the forth change of the day. Then Sparky flew around
I still couldn't get properly angry, but I did bark at her to get in
the house and not touch ANYTHING. She was still wearing her sayonara
blue suit, which was, well, giving her a distinct cyan aura. Even
after a long bath, only her face isn't blue. I had to tell her that
she may be blue for days. "That's okay," she said, "I'll be Greedy
Smurf. I need some white shorts and a hat, though."
Usenet is just like FAMILY!
There's always that one ugly cousin between you and the buffet table.