Walsh's Wonderings - A thankless Mother's Day

Photo of Robert Walsh

Regular readers of this space know I’ve spent a significant portion of my adult life making up for the sins of my childhood. However, this weekend marks the day of the most egregious offenses perpetrated against my mom by my six siblings and me. The way in which we “celebrated” Mother’s Day did less to thank my mom than it did cement her case for canonization.

To begin with, the day itself was usually an afterthought. Somewhere around Friday or Saturday someone would notice the large red circle around the second Sunday in May on our kitchen calendar. “Why is tomorrow circled?” my brother would ask before resuming to root around the fridge for something to eat.

“It can’t be Mother’s Day already; didn’t we just have that?” my sister would reply. (No, that was called Christmas, and we’d gotten our mother a handheld vacuum cleaner.)

The day itself differed little from any other Sunday in our house. The morning began with my mom waking up early to shower before going room-to-room to wake up the other eight ungrateful inhabitants for church. She’d learned not to ask us to make her breakfast in bed; not merely because what we created could only marginally be called food, but because she’d inevitably be the one stuck with the dishes after she choked it down.

My homemade cards usually consisted of macaroni glued to a piece of loose leaf paper; Mom would have to fish the rest of the congealed glue out of the Kraft box the next time she’d try to make dinner. I often relied on the same tried-and-true, last-minute gift idea: a “ship” made of two-by-four remnants and rusty, bent nails. She couldn’t even surreptitiously toss my creations into the fire because of the old paint on the side, so she kindly “stored” it next to the previous year’s masterpieces in my dad’s work room.

We’d begrudgingly spend a few minutes weeding so she could spend hours on her knees planting flowers. We serenaded her with questions regarding what we were having for dinner, how soon it would be ready, and what kind of cake she’d decided to make us in honor of her. (It wouldn’t be her preferred key lime pie lest she want to listen to the complaints of her children the rest of the night.) After she served dinner, we were kind enough to gather around the kitchen counter and keep her company as she did the dishes.

I’d wish her one last happy Mother’s Day wish as I trudged upstairs to go to sleep: “Can you do our laundry early tomorrow morning? I have practice. Oh, and you have to do the 7 a.m. carpool because Mrs. McNulty is out of town.”

As part of my continuing penance, I offer my belated thank you to all the mothers out there. If the rest of you haven’t noticed, there’s still a few days left to more fittingly thank your mother for all she’s done for you. Whether it be flowers, chocolates, a night on the town or breakfast in bed, show her you’ve taken the time to notice the many sacrifices she’s made.

Or, failing that, at least offer to do the dishes.

You can read more at RobertFWalsh.com , contact him at RobertFWalshMail@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @RobertFWalsh .