Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A few pointers for Hopeless Husbands after Mother's Day

So the Maharishi says to me this morning at about 5:45am when we're woken with the really rather charming cacophony of birdsong outside, and there's all this shit going down in the family, not fun stuff at all, so he's looking dear to me, encased in white duvets and pillows and sheets with the beard -- a sort of spiritual melee if you will -- he says "Mother's Day is an easy win." Because we've been married for nearly twenty one years and because he's vulnerable I don't take immediate offense on behalf of my sistas in arms. I don't do the "what you talkin' 'bout Willis" thing. Because I know what he means. Often our best conversations are in the morning when all is light and optimistic, before the children are awake, before the dogs have barked up a storm in the canyon and woken up the neighbors.

Children, apart from particularly caring and empathetic teenage girls, are not the best at organizing present for their parents. They get help in school of course. I've a lovely array of oven mitts with handprints on them from Kindergarten, Christmas ornaments decorated with metallic sprinkles, earthenware pots covered in poster paint hearts and flowers, pictures framed in red cardboard, and rolled up scrolls with a childish "i love you mamma" scrawled across it from when they learned cursive at Le Lycee. Most of the time, you have to help them, even the bigger ones and take them shopping. I don't know about other people but J and I always ask for photographs of or taken by them, for cute videos, for paintings and drawings, but being the LA kids they are, mine like to go out to the mall and buy something. I am fortunate in that they have very good taste and so my presents are more often than not lovely. But I know that J is always behind it. He's done the driving and provided the twenty dollar bill, and urged them to cut roses and put up paper streamers.

This year Minks brought me breakfast in bed, scrambled eggs on toast and bacon, and orange juice and water, and a huge mug of tea, on a tray with a little vase of pink and white roses from the garden. She made me a handmade card and burned me a cd of her favorite music that she thought I'd like (Spice Girls, ELO's Mr Blue Sky, Razorlight's America, MIA's Paper Planes, Peter Bjorn & John, Band of Horses, Lupe Fiasco, Prince, Kanye, etc). The cd is wrapped in pink paper and there is a pink flowered disc stuck on the front of it. It's beautiful. We lay outside in the sun reading our books and every so often she'd lean over and stare at me and then kiss me fervently with a "I love you Mamma." I'm a very lucky Mamma, truth be told. Maharishi opened pink champagne and cooked spaghetti bolognese for dinner.

A number of my girlfriends weren't so lucky. One cried when her children forgot it was Mother's Day. Another, last year, was given a Kindle, which she now of course loves, but at the time thought it dreadfully un-cosy. One stayed home while her husband took the kids to the beach. Another organized an outing to see "Star Trek" for her husband and twin boys (because no-one else had gotten it together). Two people I know were taken for brunch at the Hotel Bel-Air which is particularly grand and spoiling.

The thing is, as the Maharishi says, Mother's Day is an easy way for husbands to win points. It's really simple. Take your kids out the day before to pick out simple gifts, have them pick bunches of flowers in the garden, organize them for a half hour with a fistful of crayons and some colored paper, show them how to make a banner and help them hang it so that when mamma crawls out of bed, it's there to greet her, show them how to make a cup of tea, encourage them to tell their mamma how much they love her. It's a bs holiday, everyone knows that. It's all about Hallmark and selling bad necklaces and things that didn't go on Valentine's Day but it is also about being Queen for a Day. And all women want that. It's a day when you don't have to cook or clean or feed the dogs or organize. It's a woman's version of being in charge of the remote, even if there IS a Laker's game on.

** PS Minky, I'm listening to this CD as I write. I love it.

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