The Joys of Motherhood
by Martha Powers
In honor of Mother's Day I was going to write a touching high-toned essay on motherhood that would bring a tear to the eye of every reader. Thinking about the subject, I got downright maudlin, because I remember one particular week when my children were little that made a voyage on the Titanic seem like a pleasure cruise. Bill was out of town at a conference at some high end resort in California. Not that I’m bitter, of course.
On Monday Matt came home from preschool with a note that he'd been exposed to chickenpox. Then he proudly displayed a stomach liberally covered with spots. For two hours we sat waiting to see the doctor. We drew lots of pictures of spindley-legged dogs and ponies and read all those wonderful children's books that always have the last page missing. The doctor said Matt had a heat rash, although how he could come up with that in the dead of spring is beyond my comprehension.
Tuesday and most of Wednesday were devoted to Jean, who had the 24-hour flu. She spent her time throwing up, moaning and watching the soap operas from the living room couch. I ran cups of chicken soup and Jell-O to her and periodically changed the channel. She survived the flu but I think she has a lasting belief that all women should wear size four clothes and a lot of makeup.
Thursday was my day to help take 26 exuberant preschoolers to the zoo. On the way we sang thirty verses of "Old MacDonald" and at least five garbled versions of "Pop Goes the Weasel." I didn't see too many of the animals because somebody always had to go to the bathroom "real bad." Matt spilled an entire glass of lemonade into my purse and one of his adorable schoolmates dropped her ice cream cone into my lap, effectively ruining my new cream-colored skirt. On the bus ride home, it was blessedly quiet because the children had turned sullen because their teacher had not let them stay to watch what the two chimps were doing in an extremely vigorous fashion.
Friday was soccer, and it didn't rain quite enough to have the game canceled. Huddling deep within my wet coat, I screamed myself stupid while Matt kicked everything in sight with the exception of the soccer ball. The coach suggested he see an eye doctor immediately, but I'm sure that was only under the pressure of the 21 point loss. By then there was a steady downpour and everyone was a little on edge.
On Saturday I had to run a special load of wash when Jean discovered her favorite outfit was dirty and she couldn't be seen in public in anything else. While I cleaned the house to welcome home their father, our two darlings managed to find an enormous puddle and, after a wildly enjoyable mudslinging contest tracked mud across the kitchen floor.
An hour after his father arrived, Matt fell down the stairs and hit his head on the door. Since Bill had returned with a golf sunburn, I suggested he might enjoy taking Matt for stitches. Through gritted teeth I said it would be a fine opportunity to bond with his son, while Jean and I bonded over the kitchen floor.
Remembering that week I found nothing particularly inspirational about motherhood. In desperation I called the grandkids to see how they felt about grandmothers.
Jem said I read his books too fast and never let him look at the pictures long enough. But he did like when I read to him because I had an awesome lap. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I took that as a compliment. Kevin thought when he came to dinner the food could be better if I remembered that he didn't like anything green.
Mark liked the fact that I didn't scream at him when he dug in the garden for worms. At the worldly wise age of eight, Stacie summed up everything pretty quickly. "Oh really, Gram. Grandmothers are great because they're just there.”
Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers and grandmothers. You’re loved for all the right reasons.
Martha Powers is a former humor columnist who left behind the winters of Chicago for the sun and sand of Vero Beach, Florida. She is the author of eleven published novels. Martha writes fiction thrillers but finds that killing off the bad guys isn't as much fun as writing for laughs. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org