I hate buying Mother’s Day cards. They’re so treacly, so very sweet that spending more than 15 minutes in the Hallmark store will outright kill a diabetic. This is completely true, I swear. Sadly, as is common nowadays, I have two moms to celebrate on Mother’s Day. And neither one of them is really the squishy marshmallow type Hallmark writers write cards for.
MOM: I have a great mom. I mean she’s kinda batshit crazy sometimes, but overall she’s fantastic and she has a very loving and kind heart. Besides raising me and my siblings (no mean feat, as we’re all really obnoxious, each in our special unique way), she also used to be considered an expert marksman. Back in the day, my momma was something else. She was a female cop in Georgia in the 70s when it was still considered appropriate to sexually harrass female cops. She was CSI before Gil Grissom made it all broody and sexy. (By the way, crime scene unit techs don’t actually interrogate suspects, also, according to my mom, those actors on CSI have terrible fingerprint examination techniques, and also? Most CSIs don’t have to carry the maglight everywhere on account of how they turn the lights on when conducting investigations.) There are downsides to a mom so acquainted with the darker side of human nature. If I was even 20 minutes late getting home from an outting with my friends, my mom would drag out the crime scene photos and remind me that they “didn’t think anything bad would happen to them, either.” My sister was once pulled over by a cop for speeding-it’s bad enough getting a ticket, but multiply that by ten when the first thing the officer does is call your mom. We also developed cast iron stomachs. How could you not when we all discussed crimes scenes over dinner? There are exceptions to my ability to maintain my composure in the midst of extreme grossness, most notably the people who ruined no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies and thousand island dressing for me forever (you know who you are…) but by and large I’m okay talking about how squishy brains are while eating spaghetti at the same time. When she quit the police, my mom went and got a masters and Ph.D. in English and Writing respectively. She parlayed her CSU experience into a fairly successful career as a crime procedure novelist. She never hit the NYT Bestsellers, but she did manage to amass some very loyal readers, and to this day I get a kick out of seeing any of her 15+ published books at the library. She is older now, still kind of goofy, and still says and does off-the-wall stuff. She is anything except conventional but Hallmark doesn’t sell those types of cards.
STEPMOM: And then there’s the monster. Don’t let the pejorative fool you. I love this cranky woman to pieces. She drives me nuts-hyper critical, hyper-judgmental, major control freak, and yet… You all probably know that one person who acts all mean and cranky, but deep down inside there’s massive bunches of carameley gooey sweet awesomeness. The monster is that someone for me. Once she loves you, she loves you for life. You’re part of her tribe and no matter how much she thinks your outfit is stupid or you’re an idiot for some course of action you just took, she will defend the crap out of you to anyone else who dares try to shut you down. Better, she will support you when you start to give up. I mean, it can be exasperating to hear her go on and on about how I should be probably be doing something else other than the thing I am doing, but try to quit and she’s the first person to build me back up. She’s also funny, like wicked hilarious. She can laugh at herself better than most people I know. Just try to tell her she’s awesome, though, and she snarks. But deep down inside where the goo lives? She kinda likes that I think she’s kinda awesome. As for “monster.” Well, that name came about when I was in high school and she wouldn’t let me do something I wanted to do. I slammed the door and screamed out that she was a wicked stepmonster. And then, well, we both just kinda cracked up at that. She’s been my monster ever since. The only one I could ever love.
So to my mom, thank you for showing me by example that being true to myself is the coolest, and frankly, the only way to be. You let your crazy freak flag fly and that makes you mighty.
To my monster, I’ll be sure and reload the Sonic card for mother’s day. Or at least I’ll give you the card back along with $5.00. Because you are just the kind of odd to think that’s a really cool gift.
Because the truth is that in my family, Mother’s Day is a completely unnecessary holiday. Every day is Mother’s Day.
Take that, Hallmark.