Happy Mothers Day
A wave of nausea washed over me just as we pulled up in front of the restaurant. A feeling of dread began to creep up upon me as I tried to determine if I was really getting sick or was this just a momentary feeling that would soon pass.
As we sat down to eat in my favorite restaurant, I struggled with the dilemma of whether to order my favorite dish,knowing that if I threw it up, I would never want to eat it again, or settling on some lighter fare that would be less offensive to my stomach. In the end, I took the gamble and
ordered my favorite dish, hoping against hope that I would keep in down.
Of course, feeling as I did, I didn’t thoroughly enjoy my meal, still I was able to keep it down. It was on the car ride back to my mother’s house to pick up the kids that I realized the full impact of my actions. The nausea took its hold on me like a shy child gripping a parent’s leg on the first day of school.
By the time we arrived at my mother’s house, I could hardly get out of the car.My mother was going to keep two of my kids over night and the other two were coming with us to stay at a hotel nearby. I sat down on a chair close to the door and attempted to gather my kid’s belongings but I was feeling sicker with each moment that passed.
After much fuss, crying, kisses goodnight, and rumblings from my mother who resented the kid’s pleas to go with us, we finally were back in the car and headed for the hotel. I made it to the hotel room with just seconds to spare before falling to my knees and laying my cheek on the toilet seat wondering why I ate all that food for dinner. When the last of my dinner went swirling down the toilet, I steadied myself, rose to my feet, and
rinsed out my mouth. I took a quick look in the mirror. I made my way
to the bed closest to the bathroom and flopped down. My two children, sitting on the other bed began to whine about wanting to go swimming in the hotel pool despite the fact that it was 11:00pm. They whined for snacks from the snack machine and then cartoons on the TV. With each whine I felt sicker and sicker. I longed to be home in my own bed. My thoughts vacillated between I’m sure I’ll be fine by tomorrow and I’ll never
make it through the next day at m ymother’s house.
The night seemed to last for an eternity. Every hour or so I would wake up, rush to the bathroom, and experience the scourge of my body turning on its’ self. At times I would lay on the cold tile floor of the bathroom praying to a God I only called upon for moments such as these. At 2am I prayed for the will to throw up once more, and at 3am I prayed to never throw up again.
At 6:15am my kids awoke from their sleep asking again to go to the hotel pool. I lifted my head from my pillow and summoned just enough energy to say, “Mommy is sick goback to sleep.”
At 9am my partner finally dragged herself out of bed and took the kids to the pool. By the time they returned I aching all over and was sure I had a fever At 11am the kids jumped on the bed and shouted Happy Mothers Day! I wanted to die!
Mothers Day is the one time a year we go to my mothers house, instead of her coming to us. Despite the fact that she is overwhelmed with even two guests for company, she insists on inviting all of us over for the day. In fact she insists that we come to her house even though she ends up complaining all day that her house is too small.
This Mothers Day brought with it the added challenge of my being sick.
My mother hates it when I am sick.
I dreaded the moment when we arrived at her house and I had to say that I had been sick all night. I sat myself down in the recliner in the living room and tried to compose myself
My mother responded to my fevered state first with hopelessness “Oh my God, what are you going to do”, later with agitation,
“I guess Mothers Day is ruined.”
Not two minutes after I sat down, my mother walked into the room and declared that I
better not break her chair. At first I thought the chair must already be broken but then decided she
meant I was too fat, and later I realized that she said that to everyone about all the furniture in the house. She even said it about the doors, toilets and windows as a general reminder to all the guests that anything could break at anytime and if you broke it you would be in trouble.
The house is small and uncomfortable. She has a huge sectional sofa that she rearranges differently every time she has company. This makes the living room look like a small bstacle course. Different pieces of the sofa are spread out haphazardly around the room with the recliner just sticking out in the middle. Wherever you sit you have to move to
let someone else sit down. The different sections of the sofa are all draped with sheets as a constant reminder that we are all too dirty to sit on her couch, which could also break at any moment.
My grandparents arrive with my mothers’ stepsister in tow and take their seats on the couch. My mothers screams at me
“You can’t sit in that chair all day”
even though I am sick and there is nowhere else to sit. I take a blanket off the couch to cover myself but am sure that my mother will discover what I’ve done and tell me I am not using the
right blanket. I take it anyway because I now have the chills. My step father asks me if I need anything,
“Tylenol” I say above my mothers screeches and hollers.
My mother enters the living room just long enough to counter my step fathers offer with,
“We don’t have anything!”
“Not even Tylenol?” I ask.
She has already left the room and is
screaming at my grandmother for needing to use the bathroom.
My fever is getting the best of me and I start to drift off to sleep, awaked only by the occasional shrieks from my mother in the kitchen.
Minutes later I hear her calling the first shift to eat at her too small table. A quick glance at the couch tells me that no one wants to make the first move to the cramped table where they will no doubt be sandwiched in for the remainder of the meal with no reprieve from
my mothers rants.
Finally my mother comes into the living room and reprimands everyone for not coming to the table. The table only seats 6 people and that is really crowded at best. There is not
enough room for my kids to sit at the table so my mothers rouses me from my fevered sleep to ask if it’s ok to send the kids outside to eat at the patio table. I tell her no because it is raining out and only 50 degrees. She complains again about the weather and
wouldn’t it have been great if the weather was better but I drift off before she finishes her sentence. My last hope is that she doesn’t send the kids outside to eat, because as she often says, they are kids and what do they know about anything anyway.
I fall into a deep sleep. Occasionally, the constant bickering between my mother and her husband penetrate my slumber as if to remind me how lucky I am to be too sick to sit at the table. Then as if only minutes have passed, everyone returns to the living room. No one seems to care that I am asleep. Everyone has to talk loudly to be heard over the din of my mothers yelling and the volume of the conversation wakes me. My mothers comes in
ust long enough to tell me that it’s such a pity that I missed such a great meal. In fact she has enough food for 20 more people,
what a shame that I am too sick to eat.
Once fully awake, all I want to do is go home. My mother holds us all hostages by not serving desert. She wants the day to last so we sit in the living room looking nervously at the clock waiting for her to release us from bondage.
The constraints of being trapped in the confines of my mothers home is having an effect on my children as well. They are all becoming agitated and they have started fighting with each other. At my weakest moment I finally blurt out, “We have to leave, please just serve desert!”
My mother rushes to the kitchen because we can’t leave without eating desert; after all she has enough for 20 people. It’s about at this time that I actually feel like I could eat something and when she mentions ice cream cake I feel my appetite return. She calls everyone to come back into the claustrophobic dining room for desert. I ask her if I can
have a small piece of ice cream cake to which she replies,
“What are you talking about ice cream cake?”
In my mother’s world mother that means only a crazy
person would have ice cream cake after not eating the wonderful food that she set out earlier today. In my mothers world there is an order to which food must be eaten and my request for the ice cream violated that order. In my mothers world there are no exceptions to the rule. So I close my eyes and go back to sleep.
I am again awakened to the shrill shrieks of my mother scolding my grandmother for “stupidly” bringing delicious bakery cookies for my kids, who don’t need them anyway, not to mention that she has this huge cake for 20 people.
Another 15 minutes pass and I drag myself to the table, feeling as though I might faint and declare,
“We have to go…now!”
I notice the ice cream cake sitting uneaten on everyone’s plate and wonder to myself why the cake hasn’t melted at all. I still want a piece and asked my partner how it was.
“No one likes it. We all thought it was ice cream. It’s a sugar free, fat free frozen yogurt."
My mothers over hears us and adds,
“What a shame you couldn’t have any, I had it made special just for you.”
The just for me part was the sugar free, fat free part. Mind you my mother thinks everyone should eat this way. In her world, everyone can’t be diabetic but they can still eat like one. As I stare at the frozen confection, standing upright on the table, one of my kids start to whine for ice cream. My mother lobs off a huge slab of the unmeltable frozen confection. My sons unsophisticated pallet doesn’t know the difference and my
mother is beaming with joy as my son eats several spoonfuls. I remind my mother that she should forget about getting me a treat and stop buying the sugar free, fat free stuff because the chemicals aren’t good for the kids. She reproaches me by pointing out that half the cake is real ice cream, peanut butter flavor but no one seemed to want it.
She then starts ranting about the cookies my grandmother bought really as a reminder to all of us that no good deed goes unpunished.
As we get the last of the kids out the door my mother pulls us back in with a big package of leftovers, which we accidentally leave at her house.
Once in the car, my stomach begins to rumble and I begin to wish we had remembered our care package but was then reminded of my mothers comment when someone asked for dressing on their salad.
“Who needs dressing, there’s no dressing.”
I decide insteadon a stale bagel sitting in a paper bag on the floor of the car.
As I lean back in the passengers seat, I gnaw on my stale bagel and think, Happy Mothers Day.