Mother’s Day: The Untold Story

by Danny Tyree

Editor's note: This column was originally published in May of 2008. What is the most commonly used five-word phrase in the English language?

My personal guess would be "I love you, Mom, but... "

I see you nodding in recognition.------Moms give us life.--They nurture us.--They see us through times of injury and illness.--They inspire us with a slice of their own indomitable spirit.--But mothers also know how to push all our buttons and drive us crazy.

The stories about motherly micro-management of wearing clean underwear for ambulance rides, digesting lunch before swimming, jumping off a bridge, etc. are legendary.--I'm sure when witches were being burned at the stake, there was a mother admonishing her hapless daughter, "Don't forget to wear your sweater!"

We put up with the micro-management because the self-sacrifice of mothers makes us feel guilty.--("Go on to your rock concert with your friends.--I have the symphony of your father's snoring to keep me company.--One two three&Layla, you've got me on my knees, Layla&")--

A good mother is there with time, money, and unconditional love.--You know your mom would gladly give you the shirt off her back, her last dollar, or even a transplant organ.--("Thanks, Ma, but the offer of an ovary is creeping me out.--Signed, your son, Johnny.")

Of course mothers do have their differences.--Some can't wait to experience "empty nest syndrome."--My own mother, on the other hand, has always had problems cutting the apron strings for me and my brother.--I'm glad that I live only 10 minutes from my mother's house and have given her a daughter-in-law and grandson that she can be proud of, but I think the original plan was for me to move next door, work from home, and reproduce by splitting in half.

My mother's reminiscences are just a little too wistful.--I've lost track of how many times she has used the phrase "you were just babies" when recounting some anecdote.--My brother and I were allegedly just babies when we started to school, started to shave, got a driver's license, etc.--I vaguely recall that when I was younger her stories went more like "I remember when you took your first step - you were just an embryo."

My mother still is obsessed with straightening my collar, but at least she no longer makes public proclamations about how much crotch room I have in my new pants.--On the other hand, she still has a U.S. Census to look forward to in a couple of years.--("Wait - you didn't ask a single question about how old Danny and Dwight were when they were weaned!")


Mom still pouts, moans, worries, and caterwauls any time I eat out, venture out to the mall, or make a day trip to visit my in-laws.--I think my curfew was 1978.

When we do drag her out to a restaurant, her critique alternates between "You can eat that dish at home" and "Why did you order that?--You never eat that at home."

Sadly, there's lot of irony in our relationship.--------After all those teenage years of my mother criticizing my posture, she's the one who spent years treating calcium supplements like the devil's brew.

I love you, Mom; editor loves short columns, so the mushy stuff will have to wait.--In the meantime, have a happy Mother's Day.