Whilst scanning the fridge for ingredients to put in my smoothie a few mornings ago, after not discovering yogurt, my gaze fell upon a bottle of white wine….and lingered there for just a few seconds more than I was comfortable with. Did I just visualize myself adding wine to the mangos, banana, and hemp powder, and then drinking it? Shaking it off, I quickly closed the fridge, self-promising that if I ever took the advice of the little voice in my mind saying, “It’s grape juice…do it…do it…do it,” I would immediately confess to my husband so that he could either help, or join me. Time will tell.
Speaking of Confessions
My uncle died recently and we traveled to Denver for the services, and to spend time with my aunt and cousins. My four cousins are wonderful people – four unique individuals who love, cry, work and play with passion. Even under the worst of circumstances, I enjoy seeing them and their children and spouses and spending time together.
Staying with the Catholic theme of the services, I have a few confessions of my own to make, even though I myself am not of the Pope. During the rosary, I confess that I lost count at around the 29th Hail Mary. My husband later informed me that there had been exactly five miracles and fifty Hail Marys. I called him a show-off and told him he was wrong. There were six miracles, if you count the fact that I was in a church and it didn’t spontaneously combust upon my arrival. As much as I don’t relate to organized religion, I find it soothing to watch the faithful practice their rituals. Still, a cocktail waitress checking in from time to time would have been nice.
Mother’s Day Dingle Dangle
Soon it will be Mother’s Day again. I remember last Mother’s Day clearly. There we were, my son, daughter, and me, watching the best show never, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, when my son reached up behind his head and over toward the top of my pillow, while trying to adjust his own. I felt his fingers lightly grip the back of my upper arm, which was propped up behind me. Then, he said this:
“Is that the pillow, or is that you?”
I turned slowly, as a tear welled up in my eye.
“That is the meanest thing anyone has ever said to me.”
“No, I didn’t mean it like that! I didn’t know what it was!”
“If I knew any gypsies, I’d sell you to them and wish you luck with your teen bride and camper full of children!”
Some mornings, it’s all I can do to not grab the dog by the throat with one hand, wield a greasy spatula in the other and remind everyone that if even one more syllable is uttered in my general direction, the family hound gets it.
The problem is this: We moms are not just expected to give one answer per question, but two, because children and husbands need you to acknowledge the fact that they are about to need you, before they actually share why they need you. To do this, they state your name in the form of a question, just to make sure you are ready to help them, thereby doubling the number of responses we must supply in a given day. And as Lewis Black says, “That’s fucked up.”
I’ve gone ahead and devised some generic responses that I can use during peak question traffic time, because I simply cannot be expected to provide an original answer every time someone needs a thing.
There are several moving parts to keep straight: the preliminary alerts, my acknowledgements of the alerts, the actual questions, and my “generic responses.” Like parking regulations, my generic responses will be given between 6:30 and 8 a.m., then again between 5 and 7 p.m., when I’m trying very, very hard to cook dinner without murdering someone or myself, whichever burns more calories.
Of course, questions that express general discontent or status announcements aren’t questions at all (“Bras are dumb.” “I’m tired.” “Jackson is farting.” “My (insert body part here) is hurting/bleeding/missing). Still, these expressions deserve a response. Not really.
To give you an idea why I’ve invented my generic responses, here’s just a portion of the transcript from a recent school-day morning in my house. The following 90-second hail of verbal shrapnel in the form of preliminary alerts, acknowledgements, questions and general expressions occurred in the time it took me to commando-crawl the distance between my bedroom and my office, which happens to be a totally vulnerable, WWI-like no man’s land loft area right outside/above the kids’ bedroom doors:
My well crafted acknowledgements:
“Talk to me.”
“I said, ‘WHAT!?’”
And now for the actual “questions”:
“Where’s the picture of me with the duck?”
“My eye hurts.”
“Why is it raining?”
“Can you do my laundry before my game tonight?”
“I need my laundry done too!”
“Am I eating today?” (Husband, upon not finding his lunch on the counter)
“Are you going to Dad’s game?”
“Can you pick me up?”
“Where’s the bullets for my duck story?”
“What’s the weather today?”
“Do you have a Hawaiian shirt?”
“Where’s the dog?”
“Did you know there’s only 25 school days left?”
I’ve categorized my generic responses by type of grenade being tossed over the fence to me: Whys, wills and wheres. Henceforth, the following generic responses will be delivered with the utmost motherly sincerity and compassion:
All questions beginning with “Why…” get this:
All questions beginning with “Will you…,” or more commonly, “Can you…,” get this:
All questions beginning with “Where is/are…” get this:
“Up my butt and around the corner.”
All expressions of discontent or general status announcements get this: