Last week we took a day to honor the hardest job in the world: being a full-time mom! Actually, digging ditches is probably harder, or being a nuclear physicist, but motherhood is in the top ten, for sure. Especially if you have six children, like my mom. Come to think of it, if my mom could have dug a ditch, none of us would probably have ever been seen again. Certainly, if you have that many kids you have no one to blame but yourself, so why were we always getting blamed for everything?
I can imagine that keeping us all in line was a tactical nightmare. I'm glad tasers weren't invented during the time of my childhood, or she would have dropped us like a sack of flour 10 times a day. She might have called in the canine unit as a means of crowd control, but our dog was a small white poodle named Scooter, about as threatening as a dust-mop, and pretty much the same hairdo. Yes, it could menace you by peeing on your shoe. but it was more like a trickle, and could not effectively be deployed as a water cannon.
So Mom had to resort to verbal assaults, which were even less effective. "I've had it up to HERE!" She would say, while raising her hand level to a spot near her clavicle. If she had given us a little warning, like maybe when she had had it up to her belly-button or so, we would have known exactly how many bad things we could get away with before we had to start running. "GLORIOSKY!" she would exclaim, and none of us really knew what to say to that.
It didn't help that she couldn't actually remember our individual names. She would just yell all of our names at once, and sometimes even a name we hadn't heard before: "Back up, Mom- who is Sam?" You never know everything there is to know about your parents....
If we did let down our guard and she was able to capture one of us, she would "give us the hairbrush," and on the bottom, not the top. Mom was a pioneer in child-rearing, using our rears as her laboratory. She would say, "God, give me STRENGTH!" And lo and behold, God would, because she wielded that thing with surprising dexterity. She never used just her hand, which could have given her carpal-tunnel syndrome, considering that there were six of us. I have heard of dads using their belt to discipline their children, but if their pants fall down it's a teaching moment that's lost forever.
Some of our local establishments celebrated Mother's Day with specials for that special lady. Michele Lisa Salon offered gift certificates that included a complimentary blowout. Luckily the tire store did not propose the same offer. Somerfields had a festive Mother's Day Champagne Brunch. Ramiro's restaurant extended their happy hours to include the entire day. The thought of my mother drunk for an entire day is at once intriguing and frightening, and a lot like Thanksgiving. My mother's cocktail of choice was the whiskey sour, and after a few of those, when my mom and the turkey came out of the kitchen, if at least one of them was sober it was considered a minor miracle.
And that is why we love them. Every Mother's Day is a chance to reflect on how important it is to remember the sacrifices strong women made on our behalf, and on how they never let us forget it. And how bribery in the form of gifts and expensive dinners can be incredibly effective, at least for one day. And when you see ill-behaved children with great-looking hair, consider how hair maintenance products could have been put to much better use.