Click any letter for a look at my prize-winning essay from the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. You don't even have to buy a vowel.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

One Woman's Heart

When I wander through the house in the mornings, ricocheting gently from refrigerator to coffeemaker, sorting socks and lunch boxes, I often ponder esoteric subjects like what makes me a mom. Well, more often I’m thinking “How did I end up like this?” or “Am I really awake or am I dreaming there’s a catcher’s mitt in the microwave?” but eventually I drift on to headier stuff.

“Mom, are you mumbling to yourself again?” Son One is getting ready for work, hunting in the fridge for a can of carbonated caffeine. I reach deftly around the milk and pull a Coke out from behind the leftover Teriyaki chicken.

“Thanks Mom. Say, did you know you have one of those little yellow notes stuck to your ear?”

“What does it say?”

“Toilet Paper.”

“So that’s where the grocery list went. I thought my breath-easy strip slid off my nose during the night. But I couldn’t hear your Pop snoring, so it worked out pretty well.”

“By the way, Mom, have you seen my name tag?”

“It’s in the lint trap in the dryer. You left it in your pocket on laundry day again.”

“Thanks, Mom.” He finished his drink, crushed the can, and headed down the hall, belching the words to “We Are the Champions.”

So, what makes me a Mom? I can’t pose the question to the family, because they are adept at sarcastic replies that often involve words I have to Google to understand. On the other hand, there was the time they gave me the nifty short version of the sixth grade health speech on human reproduction. Who knew so many interesting words begin with the letter S? It was like Sesame Street meets Dr. Ruth.

“Funnies?” Son Number Two has entered the kitchen. Some people can’t live without caffeine; he can’t start his day without the comics. He’s been the family computer programmer since he was six, but he can’t head off to his 8:00 class at Community College without checking out Garfield’s quest for lasagna. I extract the morning newspaper from underneath a sleeping cat, and turn to the proper page with a flourish.

“Mmph,” he grunts.

“You’re welcome,” I answer, patting his head and deftly inserting a kitchen chair under his descending backside.

Somewhere between Shredded Wheat and shower time, I trip over the cats and find the lost student ID while picking Cheerios out of my cheek, exercise the dogs by forgetting to lock the door when the neighbor bicycles down the driveway, and manage to get everybody out the door without any lost essentials except my peace of mind.

As the last kid peels out of the driveway, laying down tire tracks that resemble Jacob’s ladder, I smile and wave. Later on I’ll find my coffee in the microwave, my keys in the door, and the hamburger thawing quietly on the dryer. But for now, everything’s good.

This Mom job may be tough, but the rewards are out of this world. And the five minutes of quiet when everybody leaves the house is worth the 20 year wait.

Just then, a horn sounds in the driveway, a series of staccato blasts that echo off the neighboring houses, loosens the fillings in my teeth, and wakes up every baby in the subdivision, not to mention old Mr. Sloth who naps on his front porch every morning until his teeth fall out and remind him to eat lunch.

“Mom! I need gas money!”

It figures. You’d think the one thing growing boys wouldn’t need Mom's help with would be getting gas.

***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Sometimes as parents we laugh to keep from crying, laugh until we cry, or just go ahead and cry. But we shouldn’t have to feel helpless when it comes to helping our children. Today I’m linking to a very special site, Simon’s Blog. Simon is an angel born too early, so early he probably still has his tiny wings hidden under tubes and blankets in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of a Denver hospital. But he’s a champ and a fighter, and takes the attentions of doctors and nurses in stride with all the courage his 1 pound, 9 ounce body can hold. I want Simon's mom to have the chance to give up the last fiver in her wallet for a young man with a mop of unruly hair who needs gas to get to class. So check out Simon’s Blog, updated with the loving hands and heart of his Mom, Mysti. And if you can find it in your heart to help them out, it’ll be a personal favor to an angel.


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Amy! With laughter and tears.

Sandra Cormier said...

Amen, Sister! Child Number One is off to college next week, but she'll be back.

Child Number Two will still need a ride to school - for one more year. Then it's college for him, too.

If only I could get Child Number Three (my husband) to make enough money so I could stay home while the house is empty. But no... gotta go to work, at least until I get the big New York advance!


Amy, I am Rob's aunt, Michele's older sister, and I just want to tell you how wonderful I think you
are for telling the world about Simon. Having a well baby can be
agonizing, but this must be tearing
those kids to pieces. I worry about
Mysti going through Post Partem Blues while keeping the faith that
this child will grow up to be a big
strong sprinter. I work nights here
in Raleigh, North Carolina, and my
weekend starts tomorrow at 8am and
ends Weds night at 11:30pm. If you
have any suggestions how I might
help out too, please let me know.
I also am a blogger with Gladys
Anne's Diary. I have an active MySpace page, and I also belong
to plus some others.
Mostly I belong to book groups, but
if you might know of a way I can
submit a link and a plea on any of
these sites, let me know. I am not
computer savvy at all, but I can
write if someone can load up the
picture for me. What do you think?
I'm not above sending pleas to
Bill Gates, Oprah or other possible
financiers. Let me know, please.
You may call me at 919-749-8453
(might be asleep but wake me anyway) or email me direct at: I want this
child to survive as much as his
mother and grandmother and great-
grandmother do. Call anytime.
PS: I raised 3 sons singlehandedly,
so I identify with your humorous
stories. Love your writing.

colbymarshall said...

Sweet post, Amy. Today is actually the birthday of a family friend's baby who died shortly after his birth due to a heart defect. I couldn't help but think about him as I read your post. My prayers are with Simon and his family.

Amy Mullis said...

Many, many thanks to you guys for taking time to check out my blog and Simon's progress. Somehow his courage gives me courage to face the problems in my life that I thought were so large. Yvonne, I'll be sending you an e-mail tomorrow. I feel helpless, but if we all work--and pray--together, maybe we can make a difference!

Nancy said...

Hi Amy:

Eloquently put!