My Beautiful Wickedness

A real mother’s day
May 13, 2007, 6:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m a mother. This is what my real mother’s day looked like.

5:45 — “Mooooooommmm?”
5:45:20 — “Moooooommmmmmmyyy?”
5:45:30 — “Mooooooommmmmmnmmmmmmmm????”

This wasn’t the “I’m about to barf” noise. This wasn’t “I’ve had a bad dream and I need comforting.” This was more the “You know, Mom, I was lying in bed thinking about some minute detail about the fourth Doctor on Doctor Who and I’m sure you’ll know the answer to this, although it is before daylight.” I’m a mom. My ear is very keen.

As it turns out, we were expecting company at 8 am for a Mother’s Day breakfast. She wanted to get up and finish sweeping and mopping her play area so that it would look spiffy. (She is a very tidy and helpful kid, addicted to Swiffer products.) It’s hard to argue with this, except that Mom would earn the adjective “Dickensian” if she stayed abed while her 8-year-old toiled away in the room easily visible from the sidewalk. Plus, you never know about early-rising weirdos. I’m a mom. I have an well-honed case of implausible fears.

So, up we got. And so it was that I was mopping the kitchen floor, running a load of laundry, and making coffee at 6 am on Mother’s Day. I’m a mom. I use the early hours for labors too menial to merit much notice.

Around 7 am, after doing some more dusting and arranging of flowers from the garden, I began to feel somewhat put upon. No one had remembered it was Mother’s Day at all. No present. No card. No special hug. So rather than being a pouty martyr, I just prompted her memory and she brought down a beautiful hand-made present that she’d done at school. I’m a mom. I don’t have time for self-indulgent sulkiness. I got kisses, hugs, and a cup of coffee and started the second load of laundry.

Between 8-10 am, we entertained and I made sure to showcase the Kid’s cleaning projects, her dancing, her piano playing. I cooked breakfast. We walked them around the neighborhood (I twisted my left ankle lightly and fell on my right knee, but nothing major) and took some pictures. Kid was getting a little rambunctious, but I tried to roll with it. I’m a mom and sometimes I can let the little stuff go.

Company had left by 11 am, but Kid’s early wake-up call and the “I’m cute, look at me!” thing continued to multiply our frictions until by noon, I had had about all the shit up with which I was prepared to put. I told her to settle down and stop being a generalized pain in my ass or we would not be going to the Tulip Festival. I’m a mom. It would be nice if I could always make her a happy kid, but I have to prepare her to be a happy adult as well.

Around 12:45, we left the house. By 12:50, I was flat on my back on the sidewalk about two blocks from my house, with my kid scrambling around looking for my sunglasses. I was clutching my right ankle shouting “shit, shit, shit.” I’m a mom. I have really bad ankles.

I knew from the pop and the type of pain that it was a fairly bad sprain (an interior/exterior ligament pull with probably some flexor damage and a dislocated/relocated joint). I also went down hard on my left knee, so it was pretty banged up. The heartening news is that within 30 seconds, two cars had pulled over and my husband and Kid had more help than they could use to get me back on my feet. My husband suggested going back home while I was still in the shock phase, elevating, icing, compressing (yeah, he knows the drill) and then perhaps (knowing that I would have a hissy) going to get an x-ray. I, on the other hand, wanted to continue the trip. It was the only thing we had planned for Mother’s Day, the weather was great and the tulip beds awaited. Besides, there was a lot of live music and maybe some soft-serve icecream in it for me if I gutted it out to the park; if I limped on home, I was going to see nothing but my couch and a lameass NBA game for the rest of the day. I had promised Kid that if she straightened up, we’d go to the Tulip Festival. I’m a mom. I make every effort to keep my promises so that she knows that she can trust my word.

We walked the mile down to the park (ow ow owiedie ow ow) and stayed at the festival 4 hours. We had planned to stay until 6 pm (to listen to jazz trumpeter Chris Botti), but finally my injury caught up with me and so we cut out early. The flowers were beautiful. The harpist was great. The Morris Dancing was…white. Like, really really white. Like the whitest organization one can belong to legally in the State of New York. But Kid loved it and danced with the Fool. She got three turns on the bouncy-bounce. She did some crafts and saw a juggler who juggled fiery torches while running on a tightrope. She saw a lot of interesting artwork and she played on the playground. We said hello to the Tulip Queen (who is…uhh…really not Dutch) and that prompted Kid to want to know about Pinkster and why white people have now taken over the Pentacost celebration. We ran into a ton of people we knew. As it turns out, maybe I have more friends in this town than I thought I did — I just have to sometimes leave my house to find them. I had a really good pulled-pork sandwich. But my biomechanics got all messed up having to hold my ankle stiff and the rest of my muscles were aching; I had already twisted my left side and bunged my right knee before the big pull, so that wasn’t in good shape either. I had about pulled my husband’s supporting arm off and he was starting to look worried and asked periodically if I wanted him to run back home and get the car. I’m a mom. I don’t have to be superwoman.

So now I’m back at home with a really dreadfully messed up frozen ankle, doped to the gills on Tylenol. Before I go to sleep, I’ll review our insurance papers for tomorrow’s inevitable trip to get x-rayed and maybe (if I can sneak it past my husband, who insists on full rest) do another load of laundry. Kid’s upstairs getting ready for bed. I’ve already told her that I can only climb the stairs once tonight, so I’ll have to miss our usual cuddle and song at tuck-in time. I read her the second act of MacBeth as a bedtime story (shut up! that’s what she asked to hear!) and I’m sure that her dad will have two dozen questions about treachery and murder most foul…but I’m a mom. Sometimes I just have to let other people do what I cannot and hope that the love suffices.


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I’ve had a bad ankle since I was 16. I reinjured it every year (sometimes twice) until I was 22, when I gave up American football and went back to the round kind. Still, my ankle gets cold when it is about to rain.

Comment by Mark

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