May 8th, 2009

It’s Mothers’ Day! So Leave Me Alone


I started off my career (or rather, more aptly, my “job years”) working as a secretary. One year, the office I worked in (a place not known for its genial atmosphere) gave the support staff an afternoon off in honor of Secretaries’ Day. “You can choose any afternoon in the next few months” my boss said. “Just let me know.”

“I’ll leave now,” I said, dashing for the door as papers swirled, snow-like, in my wake.

And now Mothers’ Day is nearly upon us. And what do we mothers want? Probably the same thing I wanted as a secretary: time off.

Time off to enjoy the silence. Because my ideal here is that J. will get the kids out of the house for the day, and I can, for instance:

~take a long bath, wash my hair, shave my legs, cut my toenails, put lotion on my skin, and put on clean clothes (yes, even a clean bra), and feel like a human again

~eat a meal in silence like a penitent monk: being mindful of each chew, being graceful and measured in my movements, savoring the competing flavors of bitter coffee, smooth cream, and sweet, sticky, Pop Tart

~take a silent walk through the neighborhood, noting the birdsong, enjoying the spring air, and hearing in the distance the sounds of our beloved children at play in the park, our futures made whole, at which point I will turn back—because there is no way I’m going to the playground on my day off

~listen to music —out loud! no headphones!—that may contain profanity and/or vulgarity

~read a book, preferably in a comfortable chair on the back porch (depending on weather), without simultaneously doing laundry, worrying about what to make for dinner, making to-do lists in my head, or otherwise being distracted by the thousand tiny tasks that make up my daily life

~enjoy having my person, my body, feel like mine (alone) again: no one grabbing me, squeezing me, scratching me with sharp toenails and/or fingernails, smearing my shirt with guacamole, ice cream, ketchup or snot, stepping on my feet, pulling my hair, or sticking moist, tacky fingers into my ears (blech)

And when I have been completely sated with aloneness, with glorious selfish aloofness, the family can return to the domicile, knowing that I am recharged, rested, and ready to appreciate them in all their glorious chaos.

Until bedtime.

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This Weeks Tip

How many cakes have you baked in your lifetime? And have they ever really been as moist as you would like them to be? I mean, melt-in-your-mouth-don’t-need-a-glass-of-milk-or-a-spoonful-of-frosting-to-wash-it-down moist? Simple secret: Add up to 1/4 cup of mayonnaise (yes, we said mayonnaise) to your mix — whether it’s a mix made by you or by Mrs. Crocker — you’ll be amazed at the result. Just don’t tell anyone you’ve done it. Unless, of course, you want the whole cake for yourself.