By Debbie Hall
I hope your Mother’s Day was awesome.
Mine was pretty spectacular, albeit a bit humorous, mainly because it never ceases to amaze me how different my kids are.
One rolled up that day at the place I’m renting for the summer with mulch and a lawn mower on a trailer pulled with a truck that was loaded down with a grill, tiller and other equipment.
He said, “Ma, I need the mulch off the trailer by the time I finish mowing. You can use my pitchfork if you want.”
Yes, he was serious.
My response, “how do you use a pitchfork, son?” was met by an immediate and incredulous, “did you seriously just ask me how to use a pitchfork?”
After shaking his head to clear the offensive thought from his mind, he jumped on the mower, donned a pair of headphones, and attacked the grass like it was an unwelcome guest.
Try as I might, I could not unload the mulch. He ended up doing it after he finished mowing, and then unloaded a spreader and his grill, after deciding to save the tilling for another day.
The other kid, my youngest and sometimes the unfortunate spitting image of her mother, is inquisitive, more hands-on, and often questions me about whether I remembered to do this or that, or to tell me why I should or shouldn’t do a thing – in her opinion, of course.
Her first visit to the rental was riddled with questions. “Why would you rent when you have a perfectly good home? This place needs a lot of work, ma. You sure you’re up to that? It seems like renting is a waste of money, but that’s just my opinion.”
The litany was prolonged.
“What does my brother say about it?”
“He said to do it, if it’s what I want and if it will make me happy,” I replied.
“I mean, I want you to be happy and all too, but what about your retirement? I’d rather see you buy this place than rent it,” she said.
But on last Sunday’s visit, she managed to silence any remaining questions, and set about unloading plastic bags of goodies.
“Hey Ma, how’re you doing,” she asked, momentarily ignoring her brother and her nieces — my granddaughters, who had arrived a few minutes earlier. Depositing the bags inside, she scurried back to grab the gifts to celebrate the day to honor mothers everywhere.
It’s true enough that the differences between them are striking and startling. So much so that I grapple to wrap my head around them — my son thinks I can conquer all; my daughter is not sure I can manage to do anything much at all.
I want to tell them I’m somewhere in the middle, but facing a ‘milestone’ birthday next month, I dislike the idea of making even that concession. Either way, and if truth be told, the different perspectives are good barometers of their feelings.
The inquisitor’s voice interrupts my thoughts.
“What are you smiling about, Madre,” she asked.
“Just thinking what a wonderful day it is,” I replied.
But the smile is really because I know they love me, even though they show it in different ways. It also is because the sheer joy of being their mom is the best gift imaginable — on Mother’s Day or any other day of the year.
But if I tell them that, I may get stiffed on gifts next year, and we can’t have that, can we?