Red Neck Mother’s Day

Of all the Mother’s Days I’ve been fortunate enough to have, my most memorable one isn’t recalled with fondness. It’s known as my “Redneck Mother’s Day.”

Most years, I let my family off easy because I help out every year at my girlfriend’s flower shop the busy week prior to Mother’s Day. By Sunday, I’m usually so wiped out I don’t expect too much for Mother’s Day. Just a special card, gifts the kids made at school, the family doing my housework, or going out for supper is enough for me.

This particular Mother’s Day started out like all the rest, with me being the first one up and everybody going to church. The children’s lesson about remembering Mom had quickly worn off as I listened to backseat bickering on the way home, so I focused instead on recalling the sermon about praise for mothers to stay calm.

I didn’t lose hope, though, as half the day still lay ahead, and I was sure my family would come around for me. When I mentioned Mother’s Day wishes like someone doing my household chores, everybody scattered like barn cats, and I got an excessive amount of “alone” time instead. With the house all quiet, I took to napping on the couch until I was abruptly awakened mid-slumber. My son and husband hollered from the kitchen door, urging me to come see their finished shop project.

Since I had anticipated the day to be a Mom project instead of a shop project, I didn’t share in their excitement. After being bothered repeatedly, I was certain I wasn’t going to get a decent nap until I went to see their surprise. I walked out to the shop sloth-like, while my son hopped and skipped around excitedly like a monkey waiting for his banana, anxious to show me what he and Dad had done.

Entering the shop was like standing by a flag pole humming during a lightning storm. The place was juiced with high-voltage testosterone pride. What sat before me was my boys’ version of Farm Show magazine’s latest “made it myself” idea, a ranch-style convertible. With the help of a welding torch and duct tape to cover sharp edges, my husband and son had converted our old Ford Explorer SUV into a small ranch pickup/four-wheeler hauler.

They tried to impress me by pointing out all its finer points, but couldn’t understand why I didn’t share in their enthusiasm. I expressed my disappointment in not getting my family’s undivided attention for just one whole day. My husband’s quick-witted response was, “We just thought you wanted some time alone!” and I shot him a glare that let him know I wasn’t buffaloed by his comment. I wasn’t sure what they were expecting my reaction to be, but after acknowledging their convertible in 30 seconds, I went back to the house for the “alone time” they thought I wanted so badly. They got the vibe with my body language and facial expressions that I wasn’t impressed as much as they were. Later, they made me to take a ride in their ingenious, one-of-a-kind SUV convertible to make up for their unapproved shop project and had me laughing about being the only mom to go on a Sunday drive redneck-style.

I couldn’t say they lacked creativity in surprising me and I still tell my family to surprise me for Mother’s Day. It just can’t involve a welding torch, duct tape, or bailing wire.

column originally published May 4-10, 2008

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