Every Mother’s Day weekend I make the drive to upstate NY. I don’t call to let her know I’m on the way. I just get in my car at some point on Saturday, fill the tank, and pray that I don’t face a ridiculous amount of traffic. I like to tell myself that I’m going to surprise her. And just like every year, her intuition kicks in and she calls me.
Her: “You on ya way aren’t ‘cha?”
Me: “How do you always know? How do you always knoooowwww?!”
Her: “I’m your mother. I’m always watching you.”
If anybody else said this I might find it kinda creepy. But since it’s mom, it’s acceptable. I mean…I can’t really tell her what to do or not to do anyway.
We talk for a few. I tell her that I’m driving. She tells me I shouldn’t be talking and driving even though she’s the one that called me first. She tells me a quick story about my 2 year old nephew since she watches him at least once a week. Mom loves to take care of people — particularly children — even it’s just for a couple days at a time. I’m fully grown as are all of my cousins. She’s so excited to tell me what the little one has learned or the mischief he got into. I get jealous. Only child syndrome is forever.
Eventually we hang up. I turn on an album that I can listen to start to finish or I drive in silence. Road trips are brainstorming and reflection sessions. Sometimes I’ll get somewhere and have the scary realization that I went 2 hours without remembering anything about the drive. I guess I go into auto-pilot.
I get to Albany. When I walk in the door, she gives me a hug. We joke about whether she’s gotten shorter or somehow I’ve managed to have another growth spurt. She cooks, I eat. We talk about what’s happening in the family, my existent or non-existent girlfriend, and watch some awful movie on the Syfy channel or Lifetime. She dozes off then goes to bed. I lay on the couch watching tv wishing that I had internet access. Eventually I fall asleep in my clothes with my glasses on. She wakes me up in the middle of the night and tells me the pillows on the couch aren’t for sleeping, that I’m gonna break my glasses, and to stop sleeping in my clothes like I don’t have a job. I grumble with my eyes closed. There’s silence. I open them to make sure she’s not about to slap me for grumbling.
On Sunday morning, I slip out the apartment to get a card. My card game is sick. If the words don’t move me, then I know they won’t move her. The day that I get a bland card that just says “Happy Mother’s Day!” is the day that my brain has been reduced to mush and I’m incapable of being thoughtful. This Sunday wasn’t any different. I looked at about 5 then found the one that captured how I felt:
Mom, you’re never one to ask for much.
You give and give, and then when it comes time to spoil you a little,
you tell everyone you already have all you need.
But even if that’s true,
you still need to hear what a wonderful woman you are –
a woman who’s been an endless source of love
and inspiration through the years…
And even though it could never equal all you’ve done,
you have every bit of love and gratitude I have to give.
You always will.
Happy Mother’s Day
**Name I only allow her to call me**
She reads it and tells me it’s one of the best cards she’s gotten and will keep it forever. I smile and give her a hug. Part 1 of Mother’s Day is done. Now it’s on to Part 2.
“So where do you wanna go to eat today?”
“I’m not sure yet. Let me think about it.”
I let her think, but I already know. I need to get dressed. We’re going to her favorite place.
The Really Good Son,