Mother’s Day

Mikey's card

The last card I ever got from Mikey

Inside of the card. One of my greatest treasures

Inside of the card. One of my greatest treasures

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there who spend 364 days of the year putting everyone else’s needs ahead of their own.  I don’t think most mothers know how to act when someone else suddenly puts them on a pedestal.  My friend and I were discussing the definition of “diva.”  Is there a mom out there who actually has “diva” in their vocabulary?

Mother’s Day is one of those days that leaves me with a giant knot in my stomach; matching the giant void that Mikey left in my life.  I know every mother who has lost a child experiences the same kind of sorrow today.  We rejoice in the children, grandchildren, and family that we are so fortunate to have in our lives.  We embrace the love and laughter they bring us, especially today.  And then we go home and succumb to sobs, and welcome the next 364 days where our maternal designation isn’t called out.  It’s somehow easier to rejoice in the children we still have when we’re not flooded with memories of the children who no longer celebrate with us.

Children like Mikey call for mothers who will be mothers 24/7.  There’s no down time; no “me” time, and no time to waste primping when a hurricane is blowing through your house.  Consequently, there were many days when I was lucky just to get a shower without a catastrophe happening during my brief respite under the shower head.  I staged a protest one year when my mother-in-law wanted us to come over and landscape her yard as her mother’s day present.  That practice had started a few years earlier and had somehow become a tradition.  But my sister-in-law and I finally decried an end to this tradition, since we were mothers too, and did not wish to spend every Mother’s Day pulling weeds.  So my husband offered to take me and kids out to Sunday brunch instead.  I jumped on this, since we rarely braved restaurants with Mikey, and I usually cooked three meals a day.

We jumped in the car and began trying to find a restaurant without a 2 hour wait.  Impossible on Mother’s Day!   We struck out at the first several places we tried, and the kids were getting hungry and antsy. The Hilton Hotel was advertising a brunch, and we were delighted to discover there wasn’t a long wait time.  So we entered the line at the Hilton and discovered we were a trifle under-dressed.  There were a few ladies who were actually wearing evening gowns, men wearing suits, and very few children in the establishment.

This was the first time I paused to take notice of what we were all wearing.  I had on a yellow sweat shirt and jeans.  My husband had on a t-shirt and jeans.  Mikey had on a psychedelic t-shirt that almost came down to his knobby little knees, shorts that clashed with it, and his trademark black and white checkerboard Vans. Susie was the only one of us who looked remotely put-together.  At least she matched.

We didn’t care.  I was so thankful at getting an afternoon away from the kitchen and I was well beyond caring about what other people thought of me.  While we were eating, I remarked at how under-dressed we were.  Mike said, “At least you have clean clothes on.  I mowed the lawn in this t-shirt this morning.”  Not to be outdone, Mikey yelled, “I slept in this t-shirt last night!”  After enduring the glares from the other customers who overheard this conversation, we finally left.  A huge line had formed with the afternoon crowd, and I thought it was funny when I was not having any trouble getting through the line.  In fact, when they saw me coming, it was like the parting of the Red Sea.  All the well-dressed folks took 10 steps back to let me through.

“Snobs!” I thought.  Until I got into the car.  I’m not quite sure how or when it happened, but at some point I had apparently gotten into some pudding.  There was a huge blob of chocolate pudding hanging off my elbow.  It couldn’t be missed.  Obviously, the other diners hadn’t missed it and were trying to avoid it when I passed them.  No doubt we gave the upper-crust crowd something to talk about and snicker over.  I didn’t care.  It was “my” day, and I had been given special treatment by my appreciative family.  Whatever your own brand of “special” is, doesn’t matter when it’s given with love.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, with chocolate pudding on top!