This weekend, I imagine the candy makers, printers of greeting cards, growers of flowers and florists will find themselves firmly in the black.
Valentine’s Day was only the beginning. Easter brought a little more. Mother’s Day is the icing on the cake.
I never realized Mother’s Day was such a big deal until recently, when I started seeing commercials on television about getting the mom in your life expensive jewelry or a new car or a vacation in Hawaii. While I think most holidays have become too commercial and have addressed that in previous columns, if there was anyone deserving of something lavish for Mother’s Day, it was my mother.
My mother was a young, single parent with the Twins From Hell. Yes, I used capital letters on purpose. This was a title which my brother and I earned with distinction and honor. If patience were to be tested, if last nerves were to be plucked, you can be assured the tester was my brother and the one doing the plucking was myself.
We weren’t bad children, per se. We were creative and inquisitive and basically fearless. The mere fact that my brother and I were able to reach adulthood, not to mention middle age, is quite remarkable. Our antics would have had Ripley himself exclaiming “I don’t believe it.”
From the early ages of 2 to 3 years old, when I decided that climbing on the old cellar doors at the back of our house would be exciting, never imagining that them being mostly dry rot would be more exciting, I realized excitement pretty much ends when you fall through the old doors and tumble down the concrete steps to the basement door. No broken bones and just a few scrapes and I was good to go.
Shortly before or shortly after that adventure, my brother and I were playing in the living room when, having dodged my rapid advance, my brother watched as I continued forward with such momentum that I found our fireplace with my nose.
Broken nose and all, there are pictures of a very small me with a very large splint on my nose. Oddly, most of the time, my brother seemed to remain unscathed, while I very often showed the physical scars of our mayhem.
Once, my brother and I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood. We were gone for several hours and in our 6-year-old minds, it wasn’t so bad. We realized it was quite serious when we showed up back home after dark with the police at the house. We had just gone to a friend’s house and lost track of time.
I think if there weren’t so many police officers present, there might have been a spanking to rival all spankings.
Since there were two of us, a favorite tactic of ours was to split up and go different directions. We did this once when Mom was taking us to the doctor for a checkup. We were sure there were going to be shots, so we didn’t want to see the doctor. We figured we would just make a run for it. In separate directions.
In those days, spankings were common. This one was the one we would remember.
Reading this, you would think we were holy terrors and our mother was angry at us all the time. I assure you, this was not the case. As my brother and I grew older, we understood that our mother was simply young and inexperienced as a parent and being the mother of marathon-running chimpanzees was not what she bargained for.
There have been times when the relationship we have with Mom has not been ideal. Sometimes it has been our fault and sometimes hers, but we always seem to find the common ground eventually.
Once in a while, I will draw a blank and call my mother for information or just as a sounding board. Even in middle age, you sometimes need to call your mom.
My brother and I have grown up, but still we have gone in different directions. It’s OK, though. All we have to do is turn around, and Mom is right there in the middle.
Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.