With Mother’s Day coming up I got thinking… how in God’s name did my mom do it? How did she raise four bratty, snot-nosed, dirty kids and keep her sanity? For close to twenty some years we stole every waking minute of her life with our wants and needs only to move on with to her sleeping minutes. Of course, back then, we thought that’s what we were supposed to do. That’s like chapter one in the kid’s handbook. How to Be A Selfish Rug Rat.
Most men cannot multi-task so that in-and-of itself renders these inept ape’s incapable of being a mother. The best thing these useless creatures can do is stay out of a mother’s way. These women are freaks of nature. They can make a meal out of a carrot and an old shoe. Fix a zipper with a bobby pin and wad of chewing gum. Fold clothes with their feet while nursing a baby and doing a crossword puzzle. Mothers are amazing. They are the best jugglers in the world. Within a two-minute span they can change a diaper, iron a shirt then race in the kitchen and flip the grilled cheese sandwich on the stove. Men would just iron the sandwich and wait for someone else to change the diaper. That someone being the mother.
Somehow my mother got four kids out of bed in the morning, dressed, made breakfast, packed lunches, gathered our books and threw us on the school bus. I’m exhausted just writing that sentence. She actually liked when her kids got in trouble and had to stay after school. It gave her an extra hour of peace. Before kicking us on the school bus she’d say, “Now don’t be afraid to be a wise guy in class.” Sadly, I wasn’t. I accumulated enough hours after school to equal another school year. I was on a first name bases with most of my teachers, starting in second grade. “Hi Bob, I’d appreciate it if we could cut the detention a little short today. Me and the boys are building a treehouse. So, how’s the wife and kids?”
Once a mother gets the kids off to school, you’d think she’d have some time to relax. No, the fun is just getting started for her. There’s a mountain of dirty laundry calling her name and she wishes she could change her name. Before she can even vacuum the carpet, the strewn toys need to be picked up. Yes, it’s easier to just vacuum the Legos, dolls, and plastic soldiers but then the vacuum breaks and it’s just another headache for the mother. Every so often it crosses her mind to just vacuum up a kid or two to make life a little easier but there’s probably laws about that.
At some point kids get a little older and develop various interests and get involved in extracurricular activities like baseball, karate, Girl and Boy Scouts, piano lessons, etc. and guess who has to drive the little monsters to these things? The beaten down mother. To top that off, she had to remember to pick them up. My mother never forgot us. A day or two might pass but, eventually, she’d recall that something she knew she forgot and pick us up, well most of us. I think my brother is still waiting in a mall parking lot somewhere.
There were times when my mother had a “today you die” look in her eyes when I neglected some things like cleaning my room, feeding the cat, putting the fire out in the garage I had started but, at some point, she’d come back to her senses. I was always glad I had siblings that I could throw under the bus and have them take the fall. Yes, us ungrateful kids could push my poor mother to the limit. I could fully understand if the judicial system changed some laws and dropped “killing your kid” to a low-level misdemeanor charge. The haggard mother would stand in front of a judge and say, “You have no idea what I’ve had t deal with. He sleeps to noon. Plays video games. Never makes his bed or puts the dishes in the dishwasher. Do you know he almost burned down the house?” The judge then says, “Woman ya did the right thing. Case dismissed!”
After feeding, bathing, and getting the kids into bed a mother can finally have some quiet relaxing time and cuddle on her couch with her best friend – a bottle of Merlot. Hopefully, she has a kind, supportive husband who will make himself useful and open the wine for her. That down time is so important for her to re-charge and do her best to get some sanity back because she knows come 7 am the hell starts all over again. Yeah, you drink up, mommy. You deserve it.
The most important occupation in the world is that of a mother. It is a never-ending, low paying job. They just do what they do, with no thanks or accolades, and what they do is truly amazing. Everyday I reflect on my childhood and it astounds me. Of everybody on this planet I was blessed with the best mother in the whole world. I can’t believe it. The odds are astronomical, and I never forget it. If I could only have one thing in life it would be my mother. That would be all I need. A mother’s love of her children is limitless. If cops came to our house and told my mother your three boys are suspects in a bank robbery, my mother would vigorously deny it. “Not my boys. They know better.” The cop might say, “We have them on video tape. You can see all their faces.” My mom would fire back, “That’s some other mothers delinquents. My boys were raised better. They’re all angels.” After the cops left, she’d spank us with her trusty yardstick then demand half the money. She’s no dummy.
My mother must have raised her kids well because not a day goes that I don’t think about all the endless sacrifices she made for me. Even though she lives across the country from me I keep her close. Her arms enfold me. Her voice is in my ears. Her smile is my eyes. And her love is in my heart.
Thank you, mommy. I love you
by Jeff Charlebois: wheelfunnystuff.com
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