Friday, May 4, 2007

The Mother of All Holidays

Fatherhood brings many responsibilities, not the least of which is to remember, and properly observe, Mother’s Day. So get out your calendars, gentlemen, and make a note that Mother’s Day falls… uh… on a weekend. I think.

Okay, so I’m not that good with dates, unless they are the dates when the Yankees are scheduled to visit Fenway Park. But I’m trying to improve, because now that I’ve watched my wife become the superhuman force of nature that is Mommy, I take this holiday much more seriously.

We should celebrate Mother’s Day at least a couple of times a week. And we should celebrate it hardcore, like college students celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

Let’s build statues of pregnant women all over the place, at least one in every town.

Should these statues portray the stereotypical image of pregnancy, the fit and healthy Amazon lady who graces the cover of most motherhood magazines with a serene smile? Or should they be more realistic, the grim woman whose back, bladder, hormones, and hemorrhoids are in all-out violent revolt with a whole trimester left to go?

My wife survived months of severe nausea with grace and dignity (allowing the dogs to clean up your vomit can be “dignified” if you’ve already thrown up 20 times that day). In contrast, one day of stomach flu turns me into a whimpering baboon.

Completely exhausted and depleted, she went on to give birth and then endure several months with no sleep, as the baby required constant dancing in her baby carrier to sleep and didn’t want anything to do with her father until she turned six months old.

Something about this intense process transforms normal women into omniscient beings.

My mother once convinced me she had eyes in the back of her head, and I’ve yet to observe any hard evidence to contradict her claim.

Furthermore, mothers can provide scads of obscure information. My wife knew the exact right time (age eleven months and 24 days) to turn around the car safety seat so that it faces forward instead of backward.

Don't ask me how she knew, she just knew.

When I tried to turn it around a week early, because I happened to have a few spare moments (I like to use spare moments to find ways to lower my self-esteem), she gave me a tongue-lashing that would have shamed Genghis Kahn.

Another example: when I try to change my daughter's diaper, she squirms and twists and kicks around as if she was the offspring of a circus contortionist and an Olympic synchronized swimmer. But my wife can come in and calm her right down, accomplishing the diaper change in under 30 seconds.


Plus, mothers have all the dirt on us. I don't care who you are, if you're reading this, you were at one time (hopefully not the present time) that squirming diaper change-ee. Barbara Bush could leak rare and humiliating information about our President if she wanted to; she’d just have to call up his nanny to find out about his childhood.

Knowing that my mother made huge sacrifices for me, remembers every minute detail of my childhood, and could embarrass me on a whim, I should probably at least give her a call and wish her a happy Mother’s Day.

But first I have to call her and find out when Mother’s Day is.

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