Keith, in my first full year as a parent, I`ve seen a lot of things come to light. What didn`t make sense to me last May, as painfully obvious, now. So this Mother`s Day, partly as a present to my mom, and partly to get a few cheap laughs at my own family`s expense, I`d like to look back at a few of the things I`ve learned about her in the past year.
I now understand why my mom loved her bathrobe so much. My sister and I used to cringe a little when she wore it to drive us to school in the morning, but it was the one thing she could grab and throw on in the seconds that she had between waking up and realizing that her three kids were cooking forks in the microwave and pouring grape Kool-Aid onto their cereal.
What a life that was for her! Waking up with three, hyper kids, getting them dressed, cooking them breakfast, getting them out the door to school and then spending the next three hours washing skid marks out of small pairs of underwear.
I now understand why my mom cooked a lot of meatloaf. It`s cheap, it`s easy, everybody likes it, and presentation is completely unimportant seeing how it`s basically just a rectangular glob of ground beef, wilting celery and heels of bread simmering in a pool of its own fatty perspiration.
I got a lot of crap for buying a minivan, but it taught me just why my mom drove that gigantic Oldsmobile station wagon for all those years. With kids, it`s all about function, screw the form. The wood paneling hid the dents and scratches from our bikes and Big Wheels that ran into it in the driveway. It didn`t matter that it didn`t *look cool! If you like the way it looks, you`re tempted to spend more time in it, and that`s the last thing in the world that a mom in the days before DVD players and iPods would want to do with a carload of yelling, fighting, annoying kids!
Mom, it`s all making sense, now. The frumpy bathrobes, the one-pot meals, the cars that looked like a wood-grained dumpster with wire-wheel hubcaps. It`s all about sacrifice, in the name of your kids. And as much as that must have occasionally just *sucked, it`s why I love you all the more this year.
I`m Andy Fales, and that`s What`s Bugging Me.