Long-time Linguini readers know the Mothers' Day drill around here now that the Heirs are older: breakfast out and I get to choose the activity for the day.
We've always had a good time, though, on our Mothers' Day excursions, in spite of the fact that antique malls, thrift stores and garden fairs are at the absolute bottom of the list of places the Heirs want to be. But they make the best of it and enjoy taunting me with descriptions of the nursing home they plan to stow me in at the first sign of senility (thankfully, they haven't been paying much attention lately...).
For this year's Mothers' Day, I had to work. Ironically, where I work had a booth at the very same garden fair I've been dragging the Heirs to for the past few years. So, instead of dragging my own sons through the foliage and flora, I got to observe other mothers dragging their sons through the flora and fauna.
Not a pretty sight.
You know how at the end of Fiddler on the Roof they show the line of people leaving Anatevka? Well, that's a Mardi Gras parade compared to the sad, despondent spectacle that marched past our display tent.
I had to hand it to the dads, though. It was rather endearing to watch them simultaneously rally the morale of the troops, all the while assuring Mom that she had nothing to feel guilty about (i.e., the Bataan Death March to which she was subjecting her offspring) and that the kids were HAPPY -- HAPPY, DO YOU HEAR ME? -- to give up their day because they LOVE Mommy; and not because Dad told them (while Mom was in bed choking down the burnt Eggo waffle) that if they didn't act HAPPY, he would force them all to use Tracphones WITH NO TEXTING CAPABILITIES.
I must point out one incident that sort of put the whole day into perspective; because, frankly, I was not at all happy about having to work on both Saturday and Sunday, particularly on Mothers' Day, though I totally recognize the need for making hay while the hay is available to be made.
The thing about promoting your nonprofit in a venue where there are wonderful things for sale is that there really is no reason for anyone to visit you other than guilt. It's just easier for them to give a wide berth or "just happening" to be looking the other way as they pass.
On the other hand, being at such a venue on Mothers' Day worked out particularly well for me, as Volunteer Coordinator at the farm. It was all summed up with one mother who marched up to the booth with a very exhausted-looking husband and two very energetic boys in tow.
"You'll put them to work?" she asked as the two boys pushed at each other to get to the front.
"Oh, there's always plenty to do," I assured her.
She smoothly removed our collection jar from the hands of her youngest. "Plenty of HARD work?"
"Well, we try to gear the task to the volunteer," I said. I don't like people thinking we're treating kids like slaves.
"Oh, they've got enough energy to handle whatever you can dish out," she said, grabbing the older boy back from behind our display.
"They do need to be there with a parent, though." I thought this would surely send her running. I get a lot of parents who think we're going to babysit their kids for four hours.
"Oh, I'll be with them." She glared down the two boys, who cowered back toward their father. "We'll get a lot done."
She signed my volunteer roster, snapped up my card and pushed her men back into the stream of pedestrian traffic. I sort of can't wait to hear from her. She was awesome.
Mostly, though, I remember the little boy whose family was perusing the booth next door. Dad came out of the booth with a baby in a back carrier and a girl toddler holding his hand. He was about to make the Wide Berth Maneuver around our display when the boy grabbed his hand and dragged him toward us saying, "Here. I want to see this."
I could tell Dad was reluctant, but his son was insistent. This is where running one of these displays gets a little touchy, especially when the parents aren't behind the idea. So I told him about growing vegetables for the food banks and explained about nutrition, expecting him to zone out once he found out we weren't founded to ban homework or make enforced bed times illegal.
Instead he started asking questions. I had purposely left out about needing volunteers or money, but he wanted to know what he could do. His dad seemed as surprised as we were at the level of this kid's enthusiasm and began to take interest too.
Made my day, this kid.
Oh, that...and the fact that the Heir1 made dinner and Heir2 made me a cocktail when we got home and TCM was running Mom movies. So I drifted off to sleep with Irene Dunn assuring me in a Norwegian accent, "Is good -- We do not have to go to da bank."