Each year, we spend one day or, if you're like most people, a few hours, paying tribute to all of the moms out there with homemade ashtrays, last-minute flowers and pretty cards with overly sentimental messages. And even if your mom had an epidural, she still deserves to be celebrated. So, before we wrap up another Mother's Day, I'd like to share a story about an unusual Mother's Day I spent with my own birth mother a few years back.
Every year when I ask my mom what she wants for Mother's Day, I get the same answer: "Oh, honey, I don't want anything. Because of you and Jessica, every day is Mother's Day for me." Every time she says this, I consider asking if it felt like it Mother's Day when the cops called and told her they picked me up for "turfing" or when I got drunk and spray painted naked stick figures all over her basement or when I got suspended in Seventh Grade for constantly talking to Dildo McRay, the pretend imagery friend I concocted to make Ms. Wert'z life a living hell. But I never do. Because maybe, deep down, my mom has always found these things just as hilarious as I do, but societal norms forced her to pretend she was angry, disappointed and hurt by my actions. If my mom found my youthful antics even a quarter as funny as I did, then there's no doubt every day really would seem like Mother's Day to her. In all honestly though, I think my mom is a little uncomfortable with people making a fuss a over her. As long as I can remember, she's been consumed with doing things for others. So she's not used to having the tables turned.
If you have a high-maintenance mom, then the idea of one who doesn't seem to want or need anything for Mother's Day may sound appealing. But it actually makes the whole process more challenging. Only once did my mom specifically say what she wanted for Mother's Day. And that was only after I begged her to pick something she really wanted to do that day. Her request: breakfast and a movie. Breakfast wasn't at some fancy restaurant, either (although that option was on the table). My mom chose a seedy Greek Diner that claimed to be open to "25 hours a day." It was the kind of place with harsh lighting, obnoxiously long menus and an even longer list of health-code violations. Who spends Mother's Day at a place like this? People without mothers -- or people whose mothers' did such a number on them growing up that they wind up spending their days in depressing Greek diners nursing the hangovers they got from the previous night at even more depressing bars. Breakfast was uneventful. My mom got her usual: A coffee, an ice water with lemon, and eggs over-easy with home fries and a side of bacon. After our meals, my mom took to devouring all of the jelly packets on our table with her fork, while I stared at the diner patrons and wondered where their lives had gone wrong.
After a meal like that, you'd think my mom would want to see something uplifting or at least funny. But she picked United 93, a film that IMDB describes as "A real time account of the events on United Flight 93, one of the planes
hijacked on 9/11 that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when
passengers foiled the terrorist plot." That's a heavy movie for anyone who's in possession of normal human feelings and emotions. But my mom has an overabundance of those things. It's not unusual for that woman to cry during movie previews. So I spent a decent amount of United 93 running back and forth to the bathroom to get toilet paper to help combat my mom's weeping fits. It took the duration of the credits for my mom to compose herself enough to speak, and when she finally did, she said: "this has been the most wonderful Mother's Day ever." Then she immediately started bawling again.