A Middle-Aged Mom Looks at Life with a Laugh!
By:  Mary Fran Bontempo

I almost forgot it was coming.

You’d think that with the saturation of airwaves, newspapers and internet with ads touting its approach, it would be impossible to blot out Mother’s Day, especially when you’ve been a mother for 25 years.

But when I think of Mother’s Day, I envision handmade cards, macaroni picture frames and a plant, hastily purchased from a gas station nursery that has sprung up precisely to aid the hapless men who find the day dawning without a gift for the mother of their children.

I picture cherubic little faces delivering wet kisses and lots of hugs. I imagine sentimental rhymes crafted by nursery and kindergarten school teachers, delivered to their students for presentation to the kids’ mothers on the appointed day.

In short, I see young children, who are still under the delusion that their mothers are the smartest, prettiest, bravest women in the world, worshipping at my (and other mothers’) feet.

What I don’t see are the adult children, no longer hoodwinked by the “My mom is perfect” illusion, lining up to sing the praises of their mothers, who, quite frankly, probably deserve it more than the mothers of those adorable youngsters.

See, while mothering is never, ever easy, sometimes it’s just easier to mother little ones.

For the most part, you put them where you want them to stay, wielding the “Because I told you to sit there” power like a jailer with a key. Try doing that with an adult “child” who wants to take a trip with twenty of her closest friends and spend a week in a house somewhere doing God knows what while you’re home trying to imagine (or not) what she’s up to.

The little ones eat what you put in front of them or they don’t get any dessert, unlike the older version who not only don’t always eat what you put on the table, they don’t even show up to the table. And they don’t call to say they won’t be home for dinner. Or, they say they won’t be home for dinner and then they show up, at dinner time, with a friend in tow.

You put your babies to bed and their nocturnal wanderings are limited to trips to the bathroom and trips to your room after a bad dream. In the advanced version, your child puts you to bed, leaving the house at 11 P.M., advising “Don’t wait up for me, Mom. And don’t worry; I’ll be fine.” You, in turn, turn off the worry channel in your head and sleep soundly while they’re out wandering the streets. Yeah, right.

When you want to buy your munchkins a treat, a trip to the dollar store is akin to an excursion to Disneyworld. Five bucks purchases a week’s worth of happiness and you don’t even have to pack a bag. The big kids? Five bucks buys a drink at Starbucks, and lasts all of fifteen minutes.

But every once in a while, some miracle takes place that lets you know you’re not completely off their radar. Take a recent text I received from my daughter when she returned to college after a weekend at home—“thank you i had so much fun at home i love home and i miss you too love you and dad and everybody so much” (No punctuation or capitalization; this is a kid texting, remember?)

It may not be a macaroni picture frame, but I’ll take it. Happy Mother’s Day!