Bucks County Herald

Camille Granito Mancuso: Chatterbox

Revisiting Mother’s Day

As I have grown older, my respect for all women as unique humans has only grown greater.

Though a few details succumb to time, some of the contents I offered for Mother’s Day, during the very first year of this newspaper, have truth and humor, and are as valuable and laughable as ever; besides, all parents deserve accolades always.

As parenting begins, “Without ever even realizing it, our every conversation begins to segue into teething, breast feeding and colic. We obsess about how the shape of baby food jars can be improved, how strollers can be made more foldable and why all plastic on the face of the planet must be outlawed before we will give up our disposable diapers.

“Before we are aware of it, we have forgotten our own phone number, lost command of our language skills and speak only in the high-toned voices of Mickey and Minnie, repeatedly reciting deep thoughts like, “See? Pretty, yes…”

“As the children get a little older, the situation improves but the job profile changes. We join the Tums circuit and learn how to spend several hours a day in the car and still serve a hot meal every night – five times every night – to suit the various schedules. We learn other new things too ... like soccer rules, field hockey rules, basketball rules, and how to make cheering pom-poms out of crepe paper without getting blisters from the scissors.

“Our memory improves too, as needed. We never forget to put the folding chair, umbrella and stadium blanket in the car before a game. We memorize dozens of cell phone numbers, and the real names of our kids’ friends, whom they call Smooth, B, Jaboo, and Ziggy ... also the combination and number of our kids’ lockers so we can pick up the assignment instructions they tried to leave in school. ...

“Many years ago, one of my dear friends in the world called to tell me that two of her children were sent to the hospital on the same day, for different things. The short note I wrote her a note to cheer her, was the impetus for this longer list.

“You know you are a mother ... when your pantyhose have runs and you haven’t worn them yet; when you are seated at a posh affair and have unconsciously cut the meat for the person sitting next to you; when you arrive home from that same posh affair and discover you have on similar, but not matching, earrings; when you master the how-tos of applying makeup in the dark, without a mirror, while driving; when you can check homework, read a recipe, and have a telephone conversation all at the same time; when you are so grateful to still have hair that you don’t care that it is gray; when sleep becomes a luxury you can no longer afford; when grocery shopping with a 104-degree temperature sounds do-able; when you mash your hand with a hammer and really need to scream, but you don’t want to wake up the kids; when you feel like you’re having a nervous breakdown, but you haven’t got the time for one; when someone pays your 75-year-old father a compliment, and you tell your dad to “say thank you”; when a manicure is 10 seconds, in the dark, over the sink, with a nail clipper; when you are picking up and dropping off kids in your pajamas and a coat; when you can sleep through six teenagers playing video games, but one cough will wake you up; when you have to cancel an appointment to make an appointment; when you spend $200 to save a $2 turtle; when you wake up to the alarm clock seven days a week; when a day off means you ate lunch sitting down; when you can walk on freshly washed floors and not leave footprints; when you make simple doctor visit that leads to two kids being hospitalized, and survive!”

“When the kids have all moved on to college or marriage, the house will be peaceful and quiet ... we’ll put up our feet, sip a hot cup of tea, listen to the peaceful silence and ... cry.”

That day came for me, though it was short-lived, as a few of my kids have come home ... temporarily ... or so they say. At any rate, I realize that whether watching them raise their children, or helping them in the clinches, very little in the process changes, but it’s all good.

So, Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms (and dads) out there.

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