Can I Get a “Thanks, Mom”?

Today was one of those days when I felt like the minivan was welded to my butt. Seth didn’t get up in time to walk to school, so I drove him, and then, as soon as school let out, he was on the phone to me having forgotten his baseball cleats. I drove them over to him at the high school but it turned out I had the wrong cleats (soccer, not our nation’s favorite pastime) so we had to come home again and while we were at it he had a piece of naan and a dish of fried rice and then I drove him to the field all the way on the other end of town and then I came back and got my 13-year old neighbor and drove him to the high school where he had a drum lesson (his mom was taking his sister to a doctor’s appointment and I was standing in), then I drove to the library and picked up some stuff that was on hold for me then I drove to the baseball field and watched the game (they won) and then, after trying in vain to make eye contact with Seth to see if he needed a ride to his other mom’s house and failing completely, I assumed he was either walking with friends or getting a ride on a bus or something, and I drove home. As I walked in, the phone was wringing or even ringing and of course it was Seth, wanting a ride. After sharing with him a few choice words, I motored off, lamenting our fossil-fuel-driven lifestyle and brainstorming to myself how to do a better job not burning so much of the damn stuff in the future.

Seth was very quiet in the car despite my friendly attempts to make conversation. Lately, I’ve been prompting him to thank me when I ferry him about rather than just allowing him to escape in an entitled and rude fashion. “Can I get a ‘Thanks, Mom’?” I’ll say cheerfully, and, without doubt, incredibly annoyingly, right up there with when I put words in his mouth like, “I’m glad you asked that question, Mom – I do have some homework tonight, and I’m going to get right after it.” Anyway, he usually grunts out some version of ty, and it’s amazing how satisfying that is. Everybody tends to take these little things for granted, the rides, the snacks, the being at home and checking in. Around this time of year, they get a little lip service, maybe a card, maybe breakfast in bed, but in general, the lubrication of the family is fairly invisible and unremarked upon. Even I tend to forget how hard I’m working and how important it is – what a gift it is to all concerned, me included – that I am able to be a stay-at-home mom. If I don’t bring my contribution to the family to light, all my important work might remain unremarked upon by my boys and (shudder) they might go out into the world expecting women to wait on them. So I will keep putting those words in their mouths, and you know what? Every once in a while, unbidden, like an offering, a song, a sacred poem, there they are, issuing from the mouths of surly teens unprompted and every time they do, a little more of the good stuff leaks into the world. Can I get an “Amen!”? Amen!

Published in: on May 9, 2012 at 6:09 PM  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Amen — and phew! Now I’m exhausted. The “thank you” business rings true for me. My mother drilled into us the importance (to her, if no one else) of expressing daily appreciation, such our automatic greeting when we came home from school became “HiMomthelunchwasdelicious!”

  2. That is so cute! And a very good idea, also — I may have to implement it! And as a funny PS to the above post, I used to be able to make them sometimes address me as, “Mama, she who is like unto a goddess,” but they balk these days — no idea why…


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