This year perhaps more than any other, my wife deserves something special for Mother’s Day. That’s because in spite of our youngest daughter’s many teenaged mood swings, my wife has somehow managed to avoid what I’m sure has been a strong (some might even say natural) urge to eat her young. This hasn’t been easy. As I mentioned, our daughter is experiencing the physical and emotional challenges that accompany adolescence. One minute she is merrily talking about her favorite kind of cheese; the next minute, she is blaming cheese for ruining her life. As a father, my instinct is to fix the problem by addressing the root of the issue by going directly to the refrigerator and throwing out everything that is — or has the potential of becoming — a cheese-like substance.
My wife, on the other hand, understands there are complex emotional issues at work, and that, in spite of my good intentions, the likelihood of me being able to resolve such issues is akin to having a bomb successfully de-activated by a goat. Thanks to her motherly intuition, my wife was able to explain to me that what our daughter says, and what she really means, are two completely different things.
As I understand it, this is the first step to becoming a woman.
Being a man, I am no stranger to this concept.
However, I was in denial when it came to my daughter. Mostly because I didn’t want to admit that she is growing up; time is slipping away. And that, before I know it, my wife and daughter will probably be sharing the same PMS cycle.
Though I kept this realization to myself, it was clear that my wife’s insightfulness is something that only comes with motherhood. It’s a bond that starts during that first nine months, when mother and child reach a special understanding that if baby doesn’t stop using mommy’s bladder for step aerobics, mommy will eat a raw jalapeno. In this way, even before birth, a child learns Mom will endure physical or emotional discomfort if it means providing a valuable life lesson; because that’s what Moms do best.
If you don’t believe me, then I have two words for you: Breast Pump. True, not every mother utilized this torture device, but the mere thought that she could have is reason enough for a child to be respectful. If you’re in doubt, go right now to the nearest full-service car wash, attach an industrial car vacuum nozzle to one of your mammilla, push the “on” button, and keep it there until a) your chest resembles a deflated balloon animal, or b) someone calls the police.
You will quickly realize just one of the many things a mother endures for the sake of her child’s wellbeing and why, if it were up to fathers to provide breast milk to the human species, we’d all be nursed by monkeys.
And remember that breast pumping came after nine months of losing control over most of her bodily functions, including — but not limited to — food cravings. These cravings came as a direct result of YOUR needs inside the womb, even though, in many cases, those needs could gag a contestant on Dumpster Diver.
But she did it anyway, in spite of the fact that as you were developing and shaping, so was she: Developing swollen feet the size of couch cushions, and taking the shape of a giant Weeble capable of destroying Tokyo. Keep in mind that during this process, she was still merrily preparing for your arrival by hanging borders, assembling mobiles, making trips to the doctor —all while visiting the bathroom once every three minutes.
Then finally, to show your appreciation upon arriving into the world, you treat her to an episiotomy.
Chances are, you won’t find any of this in a greeting card. Mainly because there are very few phrases that rhyme with “episiotomy.” Although “The things you taught-a me since your episiotomy” has potential.
However you say it, make sure to give a big “Thank You” to all the wonderful mothers out there, especially those who are celebrating their very first Mother’s Day this year!
You know who you are.
If you don’t, you might try turning down that breast pump a notch or two…