Friday, May 8, 2020

Mother's Day

Well, I'm guessing this is probably going to be the most...uh...different Mother's Day any of us have experienced en masse, ever. Oh sure, we've all had Mother's Days that were a bit off. Maybe you had a sick kid, or were sick yourself, or you had that first strange Mother's Day after your own mother had passed.

But these days whenever they say, "we're all in this together,"(which is pretty much all the time now; somehow this became the official hashtag of 2020) on this weekend that fact holds especially true. We're all in this strange, new, slightly uncomfortable place -- together. But also apart.

Including some moms and kids.

I haven't always had all my kids (two steps, one bio) with me on Mother's Day since they all grew up and spread their wings; but I often had the option to travel to see one or more of them. Or sometimes they came to me. Getting to celebrate Mother's Day with your adult kids is a pleasure not to be missed, in my opinion. All the pleasure and none of the secret work. 

Secret work, you say? Oh yes. Secret work involves eating the undercooked eggs and overcooked toast your nine-year old brings you, smiling like it's the best thing you've ever had. And then cleaning the scalded egg pan afterwards, because no one gets it clean quite like you do, including your husband. Secret work is finding the right gift to suggest to them (usually homemade) because you know just how much they can actually afford to spend and don't want them to exceed that and deprive themselves of anything. 

But once they're grown, it's all up to them. I flew down to see my oldest son last year and we went to brunch at The Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas, a place I spent many, many nights when I was younger and have absolutely no memories of. (That's how good those days were.) 

But over time, the Sagebrush, like everything else in Los Angeles, has gentrified. Now the sawdust on the floor is gone and the Sagebrush does an amazing brunch, so my son and I ate our fill of waffles, shrimp and crab's legs, and perfectly done eggs benedict, then moseyed up to the special tequila bar they'd set up just for Mom (a.k.a. me!). And my son and I shared a celebratory shot of tequila sweetened with something delicious and watermelon-y. New memories, and ones that I will actually remember.

And I thought, "this is the day I was waiting for, all those years ago." That's right, that day when he grabbed all the cat turds out of the litter box and drew little brown cat-turd portraits all over the laundry room wall while I wasn't looking. The day he took a magic market to my favorite quilt while I was grading papers. The days he came home from first grade crying and I realized the best thing would be to hold him back another year to reduce his stress levels and let him catch up academically. 

Those days, I dreamed of some future day I could raise a glass, smile at him and think, "well, we made it." Ditto for my stepkids. Stepmoms usually need to earn the right to be called "Mom," and that's not always an easy road. You're the third or fourth wheel the poor kids got in the divorce game of Parent Roulette, and you not only have to worry about instilling discipline and order, you also have to worry about being liked. That's a tough road to travel, and the day your stepkids start spontaneously telling you they love you is a day of honor, believe me. 

So to the parents of adult kids, moms, and anyone who is like-a-mom to someone, let's look forward to future brunches and a time when the family can all be together. And to the moms of little ones, your day is coming, too. Smile and throw those undercooked eggs in the microwave for 30 seconds, scrape the soot off the toast, and just know that you're loved. 

It won't always be cat turd pictures and magic marker-ed quilts, luckily. Time will fly, and before you know it, it will be all about the watermelon tequila shots and eggs benedict. And if they're well into their 20's, you won't even have to worry whether they have enough dough to pick up the tab. 

Happy Mother's Day, all!


  1. That sounds like a pretty fab Mother's Day! And I hope there are many more perfect brunches to make up for the cat-turd picture and magic-markered quilt. I'm thinking I got off pretty easy on the destructo-kiddo phase.

    1. I have a friend in SLO who just adopted and hearing what she's going through with her toddler, it makes me think despite all that I actually got off pretty easy, too! Hope your Mother's Day was good, as I remember your daughter was abroad so hopefully you were still able to connect.

    2. Yikes! Grateful I had the energy back in those days, now it just sounds...exhausting.

      Thank you, and yes; she was in London but was home for Christmas and then on to UCLA for her last couple of quarters, finishing up in June.

    3. UCLA is much closer, and I'm sure you're happy about that, especially in light of all that's going on!