“There are some things that I wish I’d asked the cleaning lady before she took off with my boxers.”
I would like to pretend that it was the words “cleaning lady” that caught my attention— as the former owner of a house-cleaning business I haven’t quite broken the habit of checking out what the competition is up to. But it was the incongruity of his remark, with the mention of both his underwear and his domestic help in the same sentence that initiated my eavesdropping from the booth behind his.
“What are you talking about?” a second young male voice asked.
“She got all upset and took off, just because I yelled at her for using them to clean up after the cat.”
“Eew! Why didn’t she just use paper towels or something?”
“I didn’t have any.”
“Or Kleenex or toilet paper or something?”
“Didn’t have them either.”
“Well, maybe she should just bring her own cleaning stuff then.” the friend of the shorts’-swiped one suggested.
“She does, but the cat barfed up pepperoni all over her cleaning basket.”
“Eew!” I almost said aloud!
“Why would she use your shorts? That’s gross!”
“They were under the sink.”
“So, you must have put them there! If they’re not rags, then don’t put them there!”
“I didn’t! Well, yeah, I did, but I just kicked them under there, when my mom dropped in on me”
“So-o-o Nick…Tell me. Just what were your shorts doing on the kitchen floor? Hmmm?”
“Don’t be such a jerk! I didn’t have any oven mitts to get the pizza out of the oven”
“Eew!” his friend and I blurted out simultaneously.
As Mothers’ Day approaches I felt inclined to just muse a bit on some of the things we older mothers know from experience. Mothers of grown sons have already learned that there’s another kind of separation, that’s almost as stressful as that initial separation of giving birth to them was. It’s the first time it sinks in that your grown son is not in the protective womb of your home anymore.
At his birth a new mom often worries, “Will I be able to feed this little one?” Years later she wonders, “How will he be able to feed himself?”
The first time a new mom surveys her body in a full length mirror, after his nine month sojourn there, can be pretty overwhelming— likewise the moment when, years later, she first gets a glimpse of her pot drawer, her linen cupboard and her silverware drawer, when he’s finally moved to a place of his own.
Remember that incredible feeling of lightness, right after your baby’s birth? How you felt so unburdened of the weight that you so willingly carried, to cradle him within your very own body? Well, just in case you want to experience that whole sway-backed, struggling to keep your balance, red- in- the- face- from- the- effort kind of walk again, while making your way, panting and puffing, down to that room at the end of the hall with its bright light and gleaming white equipment, it can still happen! That incredible moment of lightness is still possible! Déjà vu is an amazing thing! When your beautiful baby boy hands you that big sack of dirty laundry at the door, just wrap your arms around its tremendous girth, head on down the hall, to your laundry room and drop it! I can just bet that you’ll be so caught up in the moment, that it will give you a nice warm fuzzy feeling!
On the other hand it just might be that he brought along his cat!