What is Mother’s Day without the brunch? How do we even begin to do this?
Of all the family traditions I can think of, torturing your children by making them dress up in the middle of the day and spend two hours being polite to you is one of my very favorites. So many memories…
But here we are, masked and gloved, isolated at home and barred from restaurants. A different kind of Mother’s Day. Us oldsters will remember it as “the year we Zoomed”. Moms of young kids will remember it as a season of (maybe just a little too much!) family togetherness. How many times a day can someone possibly yell “Mooooommmmm!” You may need a calculator for that one.
Well, at least until they cross that bridge of adolescence and (think) they don’t need you anymore. I’ll never forget the moment our youngest, with all the hauteur of knowing everything at age thirteen, casually declared that “I really don’t find either of you very interesting” and declined any further dinner conversation. For about the next ten years.
After all, he’d spent enough time with us through childhood to know everything about us. Everything we would say before we said it. Every flaw (and yes, there are many) committed to memory. But knowing everything at thirteen shifts to not quite knowing everything at thirty-five and as time goes on, life hits us right in the kneecaps and someday – hopefully not too late – we may actually encounter that humbling moment of wondering how our parents faced a challenge.
Two of the books I’m reading this month share a theme where a son is haunted by the questions he wishes he had asked a parent before it was too late. In Wallace Stegner’s The Spectator Bird, a son who is now himself approaching old age less than gracefully wonders about the choices his Danish mother made to emigrate alone to the United States as a teen. In No Surrender: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier’s Extraordinary Courage in the Face of Evil, author Chris Edmonds laments the questions he failed to ask as he traces his father’s heroic actions in World War II. Over and over he wonders why it never occurred to him to ask important questions while he still could.
What would you ask your mom? Or, as a mom, what would you like your child to know someday far in the future when they realize you were right when you kept harping on them to wear sunscreen? If you don’t know where to start, there are plenty of prompts online:
Real Simple has a template of just ten questions, although I’m not sure I’d go with “Which one of us kids did you like best?” “Is there anything you wanted to tell me but never have?” might be an interesting one, depending on how ready you may or not be to hear the answer.
HuffPost has a list of “38 Interesting Questions to Ask Your Mom Right Now”. Interesting, indeed: “What’s the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?” is one that I like.
Perhaps a more thoughtful questionnaire is to be found at a list on “Beyond the Interview” “What were the three best decisions you ever made?” is one I like.
And if you want to go all in on getting the scoop about who mom really is, you can order the somewhat ominously titled 300 Questions to Ask Your Parents Before It’s Too Late
Oh, but don’t be surprised if Mom is a bit hesitant to answer all these questions. After all, someone once told her she’s not very interesting.
Truthfully, this may be my happiest Mother’s Day ever – all of our kids are healthy and weathering this storm and for that I give thanks every single day. Pass the champagne! Maybe we can make them dress up next year…