I said yes, and she left. I was in the kitchen, alone, — no one but me — eating my breakfast, and he walked in, 13 and taller than me. He looked at my plate and asked if he could have the bacon. I said sure.
He said are you sure? I said yes. Not really sure, but the kind of mommy-sure that mommies say that really means since you are my kid, you take it. Without missing a beat, he took the last few pieces of my delicious bacon and left.
I was walking out the door at 7 a.m. getting ready to go to the office. The eldest announced he needed $125 for the transportation fee required by the school for athletes to ride the bus to go to their games — the money has to be in cash, and he needed it right now, because it is due today. After going through the usual, “I cannot believe you waited until the last minute,” and, “Why didn’t you tell me last night?” and, “Do you think I am made of money?”
I climbed into the van and drove to the ATM. Even though I realize that his last-minute plea puts me in a pickle, making me late for work and letting me know that I will be bringing my leftover dinners to work and that I will not get a manicure or pedicure for at least another month.
The things mothers do for their children can be summed up into the phrase, whatever it takes.
That is why Mother’s Day is so important. Women and men who raise children many of whom do without the benefit of a spouse or significant other, have a job that reaps benefits. However, the benefits might not come into fruition for another 20, 30 or even 40 years.
This job of full-time mommy — cook, negotiator, counselor, guard, teacher, spiritual guide, 40-hour-a-week employee, house cleaner, maid, handyman with minor skills, referee, judge, jury, doctor, nurse, therapist, fight breaker-upper and gardener — is time-consuming.
Children are amazing and complicated creatures that require time. If you do not give it to them on the front end, they will get it on the back end. That back end can lead to self-destruction and incarceration, or it could lead to self-awareness and freedom.
When our children are little, our influences on them are phenomenal. I noticed that I could create an environment for my children that is conducive to their well being, or I could create one that is conducive for me.
Poor, pitiful mommy who has to work to take care of these kids realizes that it can be about her — but should it? Poor, pitiful mommy indeed. My children were planned and prayed for, and now that I have them, I am not going to give them back.
On Mother’s Day, women are taken out to eat. They are sent flowers, given jewelry and gifted cards. All appropriate and necessary gifts. We really like them, and we appreciate them — we really do.
However, if the truth be known what we, mothers and fathers-who-are-mothers, really would like is to be able to go into the bathroom and read an article without someone walking in just to ask a question. A little peace and quiet for, let’s say, all day — OK, what about six hours?
And the peace and quiet does not mean the kids are downstairs. The peace and quiet means that the kids are not home.
As mothers, we must rejuvenate ourselves or we will not be able to be there for anyone. We can’t rejuvenate if our well is dry. Our cup should runneth over from the inside out, and what comes out of our cup is what is left for everyone else — children and spouses. We can’t get to that cup runneth over part if we won’t take time to fill up our cup first.
Happy Mother’s Day.
• Yolande Barial is a Tracy resident and mom. She is among a select group of local residents with columns in the Tracy Press.