This year perhaps more than any other, my wife deserves something special for Mother’s Day. That’s because in spite of our daughter’s many pre-pubescent mood swings, my wife has somehow managed to avoid what I’m sure has been a strong (some might even say natural) urge to eat her young.
This hasn’t been easy. As I mentioned, our daughter is experiencing the physical and emotional challenges that accompany adolescence. One minute she is merrily talking about her favorite kind of cheese; the next minute, she is blaming cheese for ruining her life. As a father, my instinct is to fix the problem by addressing the root of the issue. In this case, by going directly to the refrigerator and throwing out everything that is — or has the potential of becoming — a cheese-like substance.
My wife, on the other hand, understands there are complex emotional issues at work, and that, in spite of my good intentions, the likelihood of me being able to resolve such issues is akin to having a bomb successfully de-activated by a goat. Thanks to her motherly intuition, my wife was able to explain to me that what our daughter says, and what she really wants, are two completely different things.
As I understand it, this is the first step to becoming a woman.
Being a man, I am no stranger to this concept.
However, I was in denial when it came to my daughter. Mostly because I didn’t want to admit that she is growing up; that time is slipping away. And that there’s a good chance they are already sharing the same PMS cycle.
Though I kept this realization to myself, it was clear that my wife’s insightfulness is something that only comes with motherhood. It’s a bond that starts during that first nine months, when mother and child reach a special understanding that if baby doesn’t stop using mommy’s bladder for step aerobics, mommy will eat a raw jalapeno. In this way, even before birth, a child learns Mom will endure physical or emotional discomfort if it means providing a valuable life lesson — because that’s what Moms do best.
If you don’t believe me, then I have two words for you: Breast Pump.
True, not every mother utilized this torture device, but the mere thought that she could have is reason enough for a child to be respectful. If you’re in doubt, go right now to the nearest full-service car wash, attach an industrial car vacuum nozzle to one of your mammilla, push the on button, and keep it there until a) your chest resembles a deflated balloon animal, or b) someone calls the police.
And calling the police yourself doesn’t count.
You will quickly realize just one of the many things a mother endures for the sake of her child’s well-being, and why, if it were up to fathers to provide breast milk to the human species, we’d all be nursed by monkeys.
So this year, I plan to do something extra special for my wife; something to let her know how much I appreciate all that she does, and continues to endure, as a mother.
Thanks to that whole car-vacuum incident, I have a small measure of understanding about what it means. Although, in hindsight, I never would have agreed to do it if I’d known she had that many quarters.
You can write to Ned Hickson at [email protected], or at the Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.