Happy Mothers Day
Columns are like children. Once you’ve written them, you’re not supposed to have favorites. I wrote this column in 2007 and it is one of my favorites. -JW
It’s her day, but … Mom should have plenty of reservations about this ‘treat’
By JAMES WIGDERSON
Thursday, May 10 2007
Consider this my public service announcement to the male of the species. This Sunday is Mother’s Day. No, really, it snuck up on you again.
You probably should’ve gotten a clue when your e-mail in box started getting the florist spam offering huge discounts on floral bouquets that take entire greenhouses to fill. But you didn’t, so consider this your three-day warning.
Fortunately for me, my wife has low expectations for Mother’s Day.
My wife does not believe that breakfast in bed is a reward for Mom. The idea of trying to balance a breakfast tray while the children are bouncing on the bed is horrifying enough. Add the likely quality of the breakfast (scrambled eggs that crunch, cold toast, raw breakfast sausage, nearly fermented orange juice found in the back of the refrigerator) and the food competition with two large dogs, and my wife starts thumbing through Dante’s Inferno to find out in which circle of hell she’s landed.
Then she’ll adjourn to the kitchen to discover Dad and the children had attempted to make chocolate chip pancakes first, but that ended in failure (though it does explain the sugar-wired children with brown faces). The sink is newly filled with more dishes than the mess tent for Patton’s army. The stove has a mixture of instant batter and the eggs from breakfast, mixed with milk and syrup to form a concrete-like substance that might require dynamite.
So the past few years, I’ve made the decision that “the family will take Mom to brunch.” My wife is a good sport and goes along with it, knowing I mean well.
Will I make the reservation ahead of time? No, of course not. So when I tell my wife at 7 a.m. it’s time to get up, I have a ready explanation. “I need your help to get the kids ready for the earlier Mass so we can take you to brunch. We’ll get to the restaurant just in time for it to open so we won’t have to wait for a table.”
My wife knows waking the kids early will only result in them screaming while getting dressed, screaming in the car, screaming through church and then screaming during brunch. They will fall asleep on the way home just long enough to recharge the batteries to prevent a well-deserved nap by Mom later that afternoon.
Of course, Mass runs late and we’re late to the restaurant where we are subjected to a one-hour wait (we’re told a half hour). When we are finally seated, the buffet tables are pointed out for us. And then, quick as a shot, I am up there before my wife can say, “Will you watch the children while I go fix their plates?”
Eventually I come back carrying a plate with enough food to feed the aforementioned Patton’s army, but nothing that would feed Mom or the children.
So my wife makes her way to the buffet that has been well picked over. She manages to find enough fruit and cold cereal to feed the children and returns to the table just in time to see me going back to the buffet for dessert. My wife feeds her children while waiting for me to return.
Upon my triumphant return, THIS time I remember the children and feed them all sorts of sugary sweets while the healthy food Mom picked out gets rudely shoved aside.
My wife is finally allowed to go pick out her breakfast at the buffet that is being cleared away by the wait staff. After fighting with the waitress for the last of the cold scrambled eggs and some undercooked sausage, she returns to her table to discover the children, tired but buzzed on sugar and alternating between yelling and crying, are causing such a ruckus that it is clearly time to go home. And since my wife keeps track of the bills, she gets the “pleasure” of totaling the bill and signing the credit card receipt.
It’s a sign of a strong marriage that she does not take revenge on Father’s Day.