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If You Forget To Call Mom on Mother’s Day

by Elle A.S.

“Mom, hey Mom,” shouted my son as he jumped off the last step of the school bus. “I gotta book with my book fair money, it’s about a mouse and cookies.”

That book, the one about the mouse and cookies, was If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff, a beloved contemporary children’s classic and one of my own favorites, still.

In the story, the boy finds himself taking care of endless requests from the mouse only to end up right back where he started from and feeling very, very weary. In fact, the phrase “if you give a mouse a cookie” became my mom mantra of sorts.

On those days when I was feeling like the boy in the story, responding to a bazillion demands, running myself in circles and getting nowhere, you absolutely would hear me mutter, with an eye roll, an attitude and a huff, “If you give a mouse a cookie!” Are we sure this is really a children’s book and not a book about being a mom?

My son might have been happy to have a book about a mouse and cookies, but I was glad to have a fun story to help me talk to him about relationships with the people you care about and doing the things that make them feel comfortable and content.

The mouse asks for one thing after another, the way my son would—and the way most kids do—and the boy gives it to him without asking for anything in return, the way I and most moms do.

My son has since grown up and lives away and I still wonder how much he absorbed during those years. Was he listening? Did he get the point?

At the end of the book, the circle is complete when the mouse wants a cookie to go with his glass of milk. When is the circle complete for a mother and son—or any mother and child? Is it ever complete or do the roles simply begin to reverse?

As I grow older, it is not me who is always caring for my son. I am becoming more like the mouse. There are more and more times that I am asking him to care for me. And when my son responds like the boy, and helps me out without expecting anything in return, I feel sure he was listening.

He is a good son and a good man; but that doesn’t stop me from worrying. I’ve always worried about my being there for him and now I find myself worrying about him being there for me.

Can a mother ever stop worrying? I think not—especially as we approach Mother’s Day.

If You Forget to Call Your Mother on Mother’s Day

(A parody of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie)

If you forget to call your mother on Mother’s Day,

She will begin to worry,

And then she will start to cry.

Once she begins to worry, she will blow up your phone with Mom texts.

When you don’t answer her texts, she will post embarrassing pictures of you and her together on your social media accounts.

If you don’t comment or like her posts, immediately, she will call all your friends, starting from pre-K, and ask if they know where you are.

She will double-check the mailbox in search of a Mother’s Day card from you.

When your card is not there, she will knock on every door at every house on the street, feeling sure that the neighbors must have stolen her mail.

Then, she will search the house for something to fill the glaring empty spot on the fireplace mantle that stands between the cards from your adoring brothers and sisters; the spot where your card should be.

She will watch out the window for your big silver truck to pull into the driveway because she is now sure that you must be coming to see her in person.

And then she will bake a double batch of chocolate chip cookies, your favorite, to have ready and warm the moment you walk in the front door.

When the cookies are done and you’re still not there, she will eat every single one as she pages through your baby book and memories of you roll down her cheeks and smear the ink of all your milestone moments.

She will spend the evening watching old home movies with your baby blanket wrapped around her shoulders.

After the movies are done, she will go up into the attic and search through your old school papers for the placemat with your little painted handprints that you made for her at the Mother’s Day ea in second grade.

And as the sun begins to set and Mother’s Day comes to an end, and you still haven’t called or visited, she will fall asleep with your graduation picture clutched in her hand and your baby teeth stashed under her pillow.

If you forget to call your mother on Mother’s Day,

She will think the worst until you call.

And when you do,

She will cry.

—Elle A.S.