Monday, May 16, 2011


 I awoke on Mother’s day 2011 at 7:30 and ready to face the day.  My husband and  younger  son were in NYC,  scheduled to meet up with us later and my older son was asleep next to me in my husband’s  and my bed.  We had gotten in late last night after a long day at a chorale competition in Massachusetts and I wanted my son to get some sleep.  Normally on Mother’s Day, I am greeted around 8am in my room by my two sons, my husband and a tray full of breakfast.  But today, with the main orchestrators out of town and a teenager in charge I had decided to stay flexible .
                After reading until  8:15, I quietly got up, got dressed, stuffed a few dollars in my pocket and headed out into my Saratoga mother’s day sunshine to walk and enjoy the views.  Maybe I’ll run into some friends as I stroll around the neighborhood.  As luck would have it, after a  mere half mile into my walk, my friend Monica is sitting on her porch with her sister –in –law.  I join them for a ten minute chat and then head on my way.  My walk turns into a bit of a jog and I stop off at the Five Points corner store for some decaf.  I try to buy the Times to accompany my decaf, but hadn’t counted on it costing $6 and don’t have enough.  I half expect the guy next to me to pick up the difference – (After all it is Mother’s Day) but that doesn’t happen.  No matter.  It’s Mother’s Day and my mood shall not be compromised.
                As I head down Clark st. towards home, another neighbor, Jeff, addresses me from his porch and I stroll over and take a seat with my decaf.  Soon his wife Margo joins me and I find myself involved in another ten minute chat.  At 9:10, I excuse myself and head home to White Street.
 I enter the back door cautiously not wanting to appear to anxious or to disturb my older son in the kitchen preparing my breakfast in bed.  No sign of him cooking, just Sponge Bob on the tele.  I walk into the living room casually and address  him using my most relaxed tone
“Good morning Joey.”
“Hey mom,”  Long pause.
“Well, I’ll be upstairs,”
I’ll be upstairs” I say with an underlying tone meaning- “I’m now available for whatever you have planned.”
“Okay.” No eye contact.  Boy he’s good.
On my way back through the kitchen to the stairs I spot a half of grapefruit on the counter.  Aha. I have caught him.  I know that I didn’t leave it there and there is no way that he cut a grapefruit for himself.  I head upstairs at 9:20 with a knowing smirk on my face.
By 9:55, I am desperately bored; I’ve picked up my clothes, I’ve filed away some papers, I lifted my five pound weights, I snuck downstairs twice – once for a gluten free muffin and once for a sharpie to aid my filing tasks.  I’m tempted to call my husband but don’t want to appear like I care whether there are plans or not.  I sneak down one set of stairs one more time and peak into the kitchen to see if there is any action.  I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve trying to catch Santa.  I commit to waiting until  10 am when there is a break in the Sponge Bob action. 
I decide to water the plants and as I am watering a plant near the front stairs, I hear my son go out for the paper.   What!!  Now he is reading the comics.  My lack of need for a plan has turned into me questioning my motherhood.  I quickly review the last few days that Joey and I have spent alone together while Johnny and younger son whoop it up in NYC. 
Let’s see – Friday night we had dinner at an Italian restaurant and we played Spit and Go Fish at the table.  He seemed to be enjoying a high level of contentment.  Upon arriving home, I let him pick the movies and we watched “Taken” with Liam Neeson  in bed.  Good – Good.
The next day I chaperoned a trip to a competition and Six Flags from 7am until 10:15 pm.  As a chaperone, I asked only for one ride – the bumper cars- and let the four boys I was in charge of choose the rest of the day. I was not a pushover, as I instituted a few checks and balances to make sure each boy’s choices were acknowledged.  There was that time I jumped over the stanchion by the picture taking booth with Scooby Doo and some other animal  and the employee said “Ma’am – could you please not jump over the ropes”  Okay that was mildly embarrassing.  Let’s see – we all had ice cream, I purchased some fries for us to share while they waited in line for the ride Pandemonium.  Thoughtful!!  I let them all get air brush tattoos (nothing unseemly) and I got one too on my lower back and bent over to show everyone – Hmmm- May be that was the defining moment and the reason there was no breakfast  before me.
The phone rings and brings me out of my review session.  My husband and younger son in unison shout –“Happy Mother’s Day.”  We talk for a moment before I urgently whisper to my husband.
“What’s the plan?  It’s 10:10 and breakfast is nowhere in sight.  I’m fine without it but we need to leave about 11:30 and I need to know what is going on.”  My nonchalant tone is now gone.

My husband says that there is a plan and he will call my older son on his cell.  At 10:20, I have exhausted myself and decide to take a nap and see what happens.  I dose briefly and wake up at 11:40 noting that my situation has not improved.  I call my husband who says that my son is not answering his phone.  We decide that I should just move on and start the day.  Still on the phone, I head down the stairs to the unchanged kitchen and as my gaze shifts left, I see a plate in the dining table containing a half a grapefruit, a handful of gluten free cereal and  glass of water.  Surrounding the food are three family photos.  Wow – not the repast I had imagined but I was thought of, I was considered, I am someone’s mother.
I say a quick goodbye to Johnny, and go into the living room and say casually but directly.
“So Joey, is that food for me in the dining room.”
“Yeah mom, I’ve been waiting for you to notice.”  Deep breath on my part.
“I was waiting upstairs, so let’s eat.”
Joey follows me into the dining room and waits as I scarf down my breakfast.  He hands me a bag with three great gifts; two books on King Arthur and Sir Lancelot ( I love all that is Avalon and Arthur) and the DVD of “Romancing the Stone.”  I am pleased, my blood sugar is stabilizing and Joey seems happy but incredulous that I had not appeared sooner.
My bedroom level confinement ended, Joey and I prepare for the rest of Mother’s day.  I manage to get twelve minutes of gardening out of him and he succeeds  in hiding my gifts from me as we travel south in the car to meet my husband, younger son and in-laws for Mother’s Day.  A cool customer, he gets the job done and I had a great Mother’s Day.

Diane Lachtrupp Martinez 

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