Years ago, we were at our regular stomping grounds – the McDonald’s drive thru – when, after I gave my order from the dollar menu, the voice from the box enthusiastically said, “Happy Holidays!”. I mumbled under my breath about the dearth of the “Merry Christmas” salutations when one of my kids who shall remain nameless said quite matter-of-factly, “She’s ovulated to say that.” Well….that certainly changed the trajectory of the mood in the car.
Because of my unique position as the mother of many kids, I am often “ovulated” to say things. Take last night, for example, conversation went from contently answering one child’s question to a full scale assault from sibling who declared adamantly, “Oh, we all know she’s your favorite.” Again, the trajectory of the mood in the car changed.
Said child then, in her most jurisprudent manner, cited all my high crimes and misdemeanors against herself as well as my alleged significant favoritism to fellow sibling. Well, after a long day, not feeling like a domestic tete a tete, I nonetheless rose to the challenge. I mustered what evidentiary support I could gather from my 50+ memory that was subsequently low on calories and countered the charges with adequate support to negate her accusations. I’m ovulated to defend myself.
“I have no favorites.”
“Yes, she’s your favorite, remember when you went to Starbucks, and out you come with a strawberries & cream just for her, and for me….NOTHING!”
“Uh, I don’t really remember that.”
“Oh yes, you do, you do that all the time. You don’t do anything for me.”
“Uhm, well, I came all the way down here to pick you up tonight. You know I don’t like to drive at night. I always tell you how talented and pretty you are.”
“Well, you’re obligated to say that, that’s mother duty.”
“You mean, ‘I’m ovulated to say that?’” trying to inject humor into the ride home. Didn’t go over well. Turns out, said litigant was very hungry and retracted her accusations after some divine lumpia and a couple of danimals.
But, we parents, are often called to say things out of “ovulation”. I laugh because that particular obligation is a direct result of successful “ovulation” processes. We are obligated to say many things to our children. And some of those things are a mandated obligation to these souls entrusted to us.
“Mom, are these jeans old man jeans?”
“No, son, they look good on you.”
“Mom, can you see my collar bones.”
“Yes, I can see your bones, they look nice.”
“Mom, how does my makeup look?”
“Mom, why does everyone hate me?”
“Honey, they don’t hate you.”
“You like her better than me.”
“No, that’s not true. I love you just the same.”
I’ve had to wrestle emotionally with most of my kids. It is a tough task. Especially during the teenage years. But we are obligated to tough it out with them. As much as they drive me crazy, when at times, I want to give it all up or say things I wouldn’t be able to unsay or totally disconnect from them, by God’s grace, most of the time, I am able to respond to their accusations, disappointments and pain with some semblance of objectivity and compassion. Yes, said child is right, it is mother duty, it is parent duty. I’m ovulated to do so, to say so and I want to do so because I love them. I really love them.
— Donna Fentanes
Blogger Donna Fentanes is a mother of 10 kids living in Pacifica. She mixes humor and philosophical musings with everyday life.