This is the email I received from my son this morning:
“Lauren got her mom a magazine subscription for Mothers’ Day. I asked her which magazine, and she said ‘Neurotic Weekly.’ I said, the cover would read, ‘Are You Forwarding Enough Articles About Health Hazards to Your Grown Children?’ What do you want for Mothers’ Day?”
Well, first off I might want him to stop misrepresenting me. Yes, I do forward a lot of news articles to my son, especially since The New York Times paywall went up. (We have a subscription; as an impoverished law student, my son does not.) But they’re on all kinds of stuff. Actually, mostly stuff having to do with Brooklyn. And then the occasional article about bedbugs.
(Bedbugs are a big one for me. Yesterday in a phone call, when my son told me the titles of some books he and his girlfriend had picked up from the street, I said to him—before even commenting on the lucky find—“quick, check the bindings for bedbugs.” He threw the books in a plastic bag and put them in the freezer instead. I’m not sure that works.)
So what do I want for Mother’s Day? This year that question feels a little fraught since I’m spending the day totally without family because I’m at our weekend house preparing the vegetable gardens for planting in a couple of weeks and trying to make sense of the flower gardens. The kids are studying for finals. Howard had to be in the city. So it’s me, myself and I, as we used to say.
Actually, it isn’t fraught at all. I’m perfectly content to cultive mon jardin and eat what I want when I want and not have to answer questions and stuff. OK. The last clause isn’t really true because my husband calls every few hours and the kids bombard me with IMs and emails. (We don’t get cell service here, so no texting.)
And actually, there’s nothing I really want for Mother’s Day, except the big things. World Peace. My kids happy, settled and employed. Health. More money. Lots of more money. Wait, I’m getting going here: published novels, lots of speaking engagements, world travel, an appearance on Rachel Maddow or Jon Stewart. (Where did that last item come from?)
Sure, a new Chloe pocketbook or a pair of Prada sandals might be cool. But I have a lot of stuff. A lot a lot.
Of course, whenever someone special—husband, kids—gives me something, that thing becomes special. On the shelf above my desk I have a picture my daughter drew in second grade in a Popsicle stick and macaroni frame titled, “New York City Mother’s Day Ballet.” Holding my books in place is a ceramic head of a wolf, gift from son when he was 9 or 10. Last year my son gave me a novel I wanted to read, my daughter tried to get me a new camera. (Long story.) I treasure these things. So perhaps I don’t mean it when I say, “I don’t want anything because I have so much.” Or “what I want is for all of us to be nice to each other.”
Stuff I really do want: an iPad2, though I can’t figure out what I need it for. The new iMac and MacBook Air laptop, but my three-year-old equipment is doing just fine. Also, those are out of my kids’ spending brackets, and I could never trust my husband to buy electronic equipment.
Unfortunately I can’t take part in the current Facebook meme where people are using photos of their moms as their profile pictures—I have no pictures of my mom on my hard drive (thanks to a few computer crashes several years ago when I used a PC and didn’t back up automatically I lost every digital photo I had taken before 2007.) Our all-in-one printers are old enough so as not to be fully compatible with the Snow Leopard OS, so I can’t scan in a picture. But here in my weekend house, I am so surrounded by my mom’s things. Half the furniture came from my parents’ house, not to mention the chachkas on the shelves and tables. So I am reminded of her all the time.
And my children are in my heart and mind all the time, even as they become more independent, more . . . adult.
I liked that when I looked at Facebook a few minutes ago, my friend Sally had posted a picture of her sons with their fiancées. She commented that before the end of 2011, she’ll have two beautiful daughters-in-law. Indeed, the young women are beautiful, and it’s probably one of the best gifts she’s ever received.
As for the magazine Lauren really sent to her mother: it’s called Cooks Ilustrated. My son came by his wiseguy stuff genetically, I think.