Read on Minnesota Public Radio
By Nanci Olesen
This Mother’s Day I am thinking about how embarrassing I am. I am just like I was a few Mother’s Days
ago, when the kids were in their early grade school years and I would sing at the top of my lungs in the car and they
would sing with me. We used to do “silly walk” on the way to school. If I try “silly walk” now
they say “MOM. GOD. MOM.”
And I say, “You guys, isn’t that funny?”
And they say“NO!”
I still cry as soon as their choir begins to sing.
“Mom, are you going to CRY at our concert tonight?”
“No, I mean, I’ll try not to. I don’t know, you guys. I can’t help it.”
My husband looks at me, hopelessly. “She will probably cry. Don’t worry about it,” he says to them.
When we started Running Club,
they wouldn’t stand right next to me and warm up like they used to. They stood far across the circle and tried really
hard not to look at me. I asked them why later. “Because you looked so STUPID! You were smiling so BIG!”
“Well that’s because it was fun!”
“Mom. GOD. MOM.”
I introduced myself to a new friend of my son’s at the Homecoming Parade at the
beginning of the school year. I thought I should meet him and say hello. The young man looked at me as if he had never
seen a well meaning, way too nice, way too attached mother before. I was told later that I didn’t
need to do that. Ever. Again. Please.
What am I supposed to do? I spent the morning carrying boxes and bags of clothes from the attic out to the curb
to be picked up by the Salvation Army. Sometimes I went through the clothes, just to remember which ones were our
favorites. Sometimes I just heaved them onto the curb.
I saw a mother pushing her toddler in a stroller and I wanted
to shout, “Oh my god! Just wait! It’s going to get so WEIRD!”
I don’t feel like I can keep up
with how to be a mom now. I’m not supposed to be overly enthusiastic. I shouldn’t weep at school performances.
I need to be around when they’re home and yet let them be as independent as possible. As I send them off to the store on foot, by themselves,
or around the lake on their bikes alone, I shouldn’t worry or make any kind of big deal about how wonderfully responsible they are.
As I drag
myself through my own midlife crisis, the one thing I thought I had a handle on was motherhood. And now I have come to realize that I am terribly
embarrassing and stupid. From the moment I come downstairs, “Mom, are you going to wear THAT today?” To the moment I mention it’s
time to get into bed, “Mom, we KNOW! We still have fifteen minutes! We get to read!”
“Do you want me to read with you?”
On Sunday, I bet you anything they will still give me flowers and make some nice food for breakfast
in bed. I will weep, and be embarrassing, and say the wrong thing when I read what they wrote on their cards. I will be wearing the jammies that look weird. They will smile at me, hopelessly,
and say “Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.” “GOD.”
producer and host, MOMbo: 1990-2007