Mother’s Day, Cancelled

When the phone rang the other day at Mommy Prayers world headquarters, we picked it right up — something that happens less and less frequently with that tired old land-line. But caller ID was telling us it was mom, our matriarch, the glue that holds us all together (mostly with stuffed shells and too much dessert) — still working at 74, always ready to show up to a grandchild’s saxophone recital, forever gifting us with dish towels and tote bags.

Ma. How we love her.

She said, “Let’s not get together on Mother’s Day.”


“Don’t send me anything either.”


She wants to clean out the basement and work in the yard. All of us — well, the 13 of us all living on the same coast — had just gathered for Easter. She doesn’t eat chocolate, doesn’t wear jewelry, doesn’t want any more stuff, even if it’s nice stuff given to her by loving children and grandchildren.

What about flowers, isn’t this why FTD invented the Precious Hearts bouquet?

“Stay home and enjoy your family.” She hung up.

I went downstairs, where my beloved life partner and offspring were slouched over various electronic devices at the kitchen table.

“Let’s not do anything for Mother’s Day, okay?”


“I don’t want anyone to spend money on flowers or going out to breakfast.”

The clicky-click of laptop keys.

“I think we should do something together instead. As a family.”

That one got some attention — my guys know the phrase “as a family” usually signals something undesirable — a forced march through the woods or participation in an embarrassing public event like a Sea Shanty sing-along.

“We could work in the yard. Or clean out the basement.”

Mr. Mommy Prayers closed the lid on his netbook. He knows full well that our basement houses nothing but bad karma. “Why don’t we go to the bookstore? Poke around a little, have a coffee.”

I only said yes because it’s this bookstore, which is right next to this bakery. And because, even though I don’t want to spend the money, I do want this. And this. And maybe this

Happy Mother’s day — whether you spend it with chocolates and diamonds or a rake and scrub bucket. Or a latte and some literature.

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