Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day. Enough said.

Yes, today is the day that all children everywhere are put to the test. Are we going to make the slightest effort to make mom believe that we are actually grateful for all of her sacrifices? Are we going to tell her that we know how awful it must have been with narcissistic little millstone to drag around everywhere for at least eighteen years?
My mom ( The Duchess ) already knows all that stuff because that's why I don't have any kids myself yet. Still, it will be a cold day in hell when she allows any of us to get through the day without presenting her with the most sugary syrupy sweet sentimental card we can find. It can't have ANY humor in it and it MUST be printed in CURSIVE. Here's my brother's unfailing routine, which also works nicely on her birthday:

He hits the nearest grocery store early, because it is much easier to sniff out the most appropriate piece of bamboozlement. In fact, it takes less than 15 seconds. He heads for the BIGGEST card WITH flowers AND the word "Mother" written outstandingly huge across the top.
These are the cards which when opened are absolutely filled on one side and maybe even some on the other with devoted tender loveliness. He throws his name on there and a phrase resembling, "This was the only card I could find that REALLY meant what I wanted it to say!"

Works every time. "OOOOOOOh daaaaaarling, what did I do to deserve such a wooooonderful son, bla bla bla bla bla..." The crying goes on for several minutes, Duchess reserving the opportunity to force him into several excruciatingly long embraces.

Me, I'm much more thoughtful.
I always find something that makes me chuckle and I think, oh, she'll know exactly what I mean by this. But it never works. The Duchess doesn't want to chuckle. The Duchess wants to CRY and she isn't happy unless she can get everybody else to cry as well. She has this air of entitlement about her the entire day. It's like the moment you are handed the receipt when you go to pay off a speeding ticket. You take it and carefully place it in a special place in your wallet, pointedly looking at the person behind the glass. See? I have it right here in my wallet, and this makes me legit. Don't anybody even think about accusing me of being a bad driver. Don't anyone act like I don't have a RIGHT to drive. In the Duchess's case she's thinking, "...they'll find all these hundreds of cards under my mattress after I die, that way they will always remember what a saint I am. I'll never be forgotten and I'll go down in history as the one woman who FINALLY got those damn kids to show proper homage."

She does want to get rid of us early though. Firstly, one of us will end up getting in an argument with her. She's impossible to be around, no matter what the day, but Mother's day turns her into an absolute nightmare of unfettered gushing. The gushing ranges from prayerful "I have such a perfectly lovely daughter" to:

"I just don't know why nobody wanted me to come with them to Peurto Vallarta that one time, I guess they are just embarrassed to be with their mom, I don't know why I even bother, all I have done for them and they try to keep their vacation a secret from me, and why? I wouldn't have wanted to go, and I certainly wouldn't have felt badly, but still nobody even told me and I had to spend that whole time wondering how my own children could be so cruel. MH, why are you stirring the Tang like that? It must be stirred in circular motions, one way and then the other way, not back and forth across. Haven't you learned anything, here let me do it, you peel these potatoes. I don't know why you had to make potato salad when you KNOW that mine is the best and I had been planning on making it. Yours would be just as good if you would use REAL Miracle Whip but noooo, you have to use that no-dairy stuff that tastes like cardboard."

That's why Mother's Day was such a blessing today. The Duchess is up north, taking care of La Grande Dame, my grandmother. She is in heart failure and refuses to move from her house to an assisted living place. Out of seven living children, The Duchess is the only one who can take care of her. La Grande Dame is probably why The Duchess is definitely going to be at assisted living when her time comes. She learned everything from her mother!

I called The Duchess at around noon, but she and three of her cackling sisters had taken La Grande Dame to brunch and drank a few too many mimosas. Score one for me. She forgot to wonder where my card was, so intent was she on invoking envy in two of her sisters, who never had children. "Oh, it's my baaaaaaby MH! How are you honey? Oh, you don't have to go on about Mother's Day, we can just celebrate it when I get back, I know you and your brother have something very special planned, I'm going over to your sister's house today and I'm bringing your grandmother, won't that be nice? Aunt Old and Aunt Maid are so glad to know you are on the phone, here, why don't you say hi?"

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