Sunday, May 12, 2013

Hey Mom!? Where's My Other Shoe?

From today's Times and News-Star

Long before there were Day-Timers and smart phones and automated contact lists, there were mothers.

Moms institute, keep and carry out the family schedule. But that is only the tip of Mister Iceberg.

Through the ages, moms have been at-home cooks, nurses, maids, preachers, teachers, dictionaries, maps, chauffeurs, stylists, barbers, haberdashers, umpires, coaches, health instructors, drill sergeants, clairvoyants, witch doctors, calculators, phone books, calendars and human balm.

In your home, mom is the equivalent of the three branches of the federal government, plus the Library of Congress.

She’s often the FBI and the CIA too, if she needs to be. And she often needs to be, because children, being human (Strike 1) and young (Strike 2), think their moms are old and stupid. And, I guess, blind, deaf and dumb.

One of my favorite moms told me recently of her two teenaged girls, now grown, sneaking into the house at 2 a.m. back in the day. The older one shoved the younger and thinner one through the window above the kitchen sink, and that one crawled on all fours to the door to unlock it. So sneaky! A perfect plan. Their parents would never …

“So, how’s it going?” said the mom, who was watching the whole thing, her legs crossed calmly in the darkness on her couch. She waited to speak until the young one was reaching up for the doorknob, like a puppy reaching to shake hands.

Moms. Timing is everything.

We forget our moms were kids too. It’s hard to get any boogie woogie past the Queen of Rock ‘N’ Roll.

But when I think of moms, I think more of care than I do of discipline. My mom disciplined me plenty. The Tie Incident and The Raincoat Incident pop most readily to mind. But the times of care, there’s just no way to remember all of those.

Maybe it’s because of all the Band-Aids and the bee stings and the soothing of hurt feelings that we come to think our moms just Know Everything. Why else would we ask them where our other shoe is? Or who ate all the peanut butter? Or what time our game is? Or what a polynomial is and why do I have to do them?

Nine times out of 10, they know the answer. (That 10th time is when they remind you, “Hey, I’m your mother, I’m not your personal secretary.”) This maternal wisdom makes it easy to take a mom for granted. Sort of like we take oxygen for granted. Like a mom, it’s always there when you need it, even though you don’t think about it.

Despite all the gadgets that make schedule-keeping and transportation and communication easier for the modern mom, I think she still has it a little tougher than the moms of yesteryear, which would seem impossible. The invention of the microwave alone would even the score, you’d think.

But Eve, for all her faults, never had to tell her boys to “Go outside and play,” because there was nothing BUT outside back then. A 10th-century mom didn’t have to block certain television channels. A 15th-century mom wasn’t in on any over-thought prom plans.

Today there are more things “out there” than ever before that can “kidnap” your kids. I’m not sure moms can afford to take a day off. Even if they could. Which they can’t.

Maybe we can do them a favor today. Not ask them any questions. Not get in any trouble. Remind them they’re the greatest, because really, they are.