There will be a lot of moms alone this Mother’s Day, what with the coronavirus and all.
That’s a pity. Tough gig being a mom - they deserve a day.
Although, there are compensations. For one thing, as a mom or grandma, there’s no end to the potential for entertainment when you’re around your descendants.
On Sunday, day our son ventured over with Grandchildren Four and Five. We were half crazed from grandchild shortage, but we kept our distance, trying valiantly to comply with the whole social distancing thing. At one point, my wife and Number Five wandered out to the orchard.
We have a fenced orchard with about a dozen fruit trees, some raspberries and a small chicken coop. What Five didn’t know is that usually when we head out to see the chickens, we’re carrying vegetable or fruit scraps and the chickens anticipate the treat. Five went halfway through the gate and the chickens came on the run. He froze, yelled, “Chicken stampede!” and slammed the gate shut.
Pretty good vocabulary for a five-year old.
I’m sure Grammy would have saved him if he needed saving, once she stifled her amusement. I’m also sure there are people, decent people, who don’t laugh out loud at the things their children and grandchildren do.
We’re not them.
Kids take you places you don’t expect to go. With our three children, my wife learned more about musical theatre, Taekwondo, and the Marine Corps than she ever dreamed of knowing. Now, in the next generation, we’re learning about softball, dance, gymnastics and various other activities.
Our three children are gifted in music. That’s all due to me, because I’m the one who chose their mother, who is also musically gifted. Pretty clever on my part, I think. They were all committed participants in school musicals, choirs and other theatre happenings.
In contrast, our grandchildren are involved in basketball, softball, dance, track, wrestling - a variety of sporty activities that have broadened all our horizons, but in particular, our oldest daughter. Last fall, their daughter auditioned for the high school musical. Daughter One was beside herself. “You guys,” she said, with much excitement, “finally, an activity I understand!”
It made me laugh, to think about all the English majors who fill the stands at basketball games and all the high school softball stars shouting bravo at the ballet.
And that’s the other part of the equation for a mom – your children take you places you don’t expect to go, but you go - joyfully.
This will be an unusual Mother’s Day. Arms that are aching for affection will wait for just a little while longer. It’s certainly an unfamiliar idea to show your love by NOT hugging.
I hope you’ve already mailed the card or gotten your kids involved in making signs to wave from a safe distance. Maybe you’ve already planned the rhubarb shortcake to leave on the front porch. Brunch at a swanky restaurant probably isn’t a good idea, but I know there are lots of places where you can get a great meal to take home and celebrate together, from a distance.
With a little luck, you might even see a chicken stampede.
Copyright Brent Olson 2020