Let’s pretend it’s still the 1970’s and I’m only ten again and I’m going to get up early tomorrow and make you breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day.
It will be a bowl of Cheerios with that creepy Alba powdered milk you like, a piece of toast with a slice of Kraft cheese and a cup of Lipton tea, not too strong.
A few weeks ago, in art class we made a calendar holder out of glued popsicle sticks, so this year, you get a present too.
Let’s pretend we’ll all be at the dinner table tonight and pretend to listen to your stories about working at your school, even though we’re sick of school and don’t really care about your work, though you are the only one speaking and we have to listen while we pretend to eat your dry meatloaf and soggy green beans and enormous baked potatoes with the skins you always swipe from us.
Let’s pretend that afterwards, we’ll sit together on the itchy burlap couch and watch the Brady Bunch and that we’ll laugh without fighting until it’s time to go to bed and then we’ll kiss you good night so we can get up early and prepare for your big day.
And let’s also pretend that we don’t know how many years it will be until you discover that lump and that we don’t have to visit you in a hospital after school and see you in a strange bathrobe but still happy to see us even though you pretend to be happy and we pretend not to be sad.
Maybe we’ll also pretend it will be a long time before you bend over in your worn housecoat and I see the scar even though I don’t mean to look there and that you don’t have to lose your hair and that you like the stiff wig and even smile when you wear it.
Then I’ll pretend I don’t understand what it means when you have fluid around your lungs or aching in your bones or when you cough, slow and finally weaken.
Let’s pretend that on this Mother’s day you wake up tomorrow morning and continue on the next twenty years to see your grandchildren do the same things for us as we want to do for you.
In the end, Mom, there’s no reason to pretend.
It’s always a happy Mother’s Day.
© Richie Smith
© Richie Smith