Sunday, March 9, 2008

A Mother's Love

My mother was over today for her weekly visit. She's still wheezing a bit from whatever tropical disease is trying to exact revenge for her imperialist tour of the developing world but I opened the door after spraying her with Lysol and making her don a plastic garbage bag.

I'm joking, of course. She brought me magnets so I'm down with the whole grandma thing. My kids, they think she's the bee's knees, or some other grandma type saying she'd sooner die than use. She shows up and doesn't just pretend to be interested in what they've been up to. She actually is interested. I think she's on meth.

"What have you been doing?" she asked the youngest.

He went on at length about something involving sports. Why should I listen? I lived it. Basketball. Baseball. My money going down a rat hole.

In the meantime my oldest barked at me. He was cleaning the house in preparation for the annual father/son fantasy baseball league draft to be held tonight.

"Get out of my way," he snarled.

I was out late last night for a dinner hosted by my company's largest vendor. That good wine, the stuff you never spring for? Boy, that tastes even better when someone else is paying. Not so good the next day, though, not when one has to get up to drive the middle kid across town so he can take a soccer referee clinic entitling him to get paid for handing out red cards in a crazed power grab that's bound to turn this whole summer into a teachable moment. Anyway, it improved the experience of being bossed around by my oldest kid.

"Leave me alone," I snarled back.

"I won't clean," he said.

"You win," I told him.

Much of my willingness to concede is driven by the fact I'll soon be taking leave of my loving family for three weeks. I do this every year, giving fascinating presentations that on their own could kill a man at fifty yards. By the end of this year's trip I'll have given one of them sixty times.




Pause for laughter.

Pray for death.


It's a living. But, with the Lovely Bride in school, there's simply no way the family can survive, even grubbing for worms, without the help of my oldest. When he tells me to move, I move.

Grandma smiled upon him, as she does upon all her grandchildren. "How did your father get so lucky to have a son like you?" she asked.

He grinned. "Don't know."

She turned to my youngest and whispered conspiratorially, glancing at me. "When he was in high school your dad was a terrible student."

"I was disinterested. There's a difference. You'd know that if you were any good at English."

My mother speaks in sentences that would do King James proud if he'd spent his time on something besides the Bible. I got the evil eye.

"Whether he was disinterested or merely a bad student, his grades did not reflect his ability," she continued to a rapt audience consisting of children eager for proof of my inadequacy.

"We had to read the 'Mayor of Casterbridge,'" I said. "Half the class dropped out."

"Did you ever skip school?" asked my youngest.

"Skipping school's is Satan's curriculum," I told him.

"You did not always make good choices," said my mother. Thanks for getting my back, Mom.

"Having kids, for example. There's a bad choice," I offered.

"Getting married and having children were the best decisions you ever made," said Grandma.

"That's not what the Lovely Bride thinks," I said.

My mother paused for a moment. "We're aware of that."

I reconsidered my comment while my kids looked at me with pity.

"Mom's cool," said my youngest.

"Yes she is. Your father's a lucky man," said my mother.

My youngest danced across the floor while my oldest vacuumed. I suppose I am.


Jennifer said...

It's time for Snag's road trip already? Can't be. You just did that!

Anonymous said...

I reconsidered my comment while my kids looked at me with pity.

You got pity! Score!

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

For the record, I also haven't always made the best choices.

Starting to hang out at 3B, for example. My mother always told me I'd fall in with a bad crowd if I hung around in the wrong part of town.

BG, I think that was scornful pity. Not the good kind.

Kathleen said...

I was a soccer referee in high school.

Just think of all of your efforts as excellent training for him to deal with the parents on the sideline.

Anonymous said...

BP, you gotta take what you can get.

Snag said...

Scornful doesn't begin to cover it.

In big letters across the top of the notes, my son wrote, "IGNORE PARENTS!!!" I hope that means the soccer parents and not me.