When it comes to buying Mother’s Day gifts, I’d like to think I’m off the hook.
Over my lifetime I’ve given mom plenty of stories to tell about me during her birthday dinners and Mother’s Day brunches. If memories are the gifts that keep on giving then I’ve fulfilled my obligation for the rest of our lives. Besides, I don’t think she appreciates the gray hairs.
One of her first grays, she’ll tell anyone who makes the mistake of being at the same table with her during her day, sprouted when I was 5 years old and she found me outside. On the roof. With a towel tied around my neck. Convinced I was Superman. I don’t remember the incident but something tells me her kryptonite-like stare was enough to get me off the roof without jumping.
Where the other grays came from is harder to discern.
One might have appeared the afternoon I decided not to come home after school but instead went to a friend’s house without telling anyone. To a second-grader who simply wanted to keep play time going this seemed perfectly reasonable. But to a mom who expected to find her son waiting for her outside the schoolyard, only to discover no one had seen me since class was dismissed, my reasoning wasn’t appreciated.
Another gray may have been born the night police brought me home. No matter how many times she relays the story she likes to tell people I was naked. It’s one of the few times I interject and correct her. I was not naked. I was wearing boxer shorts and sneakers. And had the cops been at all reasonable they would have allowed me to get dressed completely after finding me naked and hiding behind a car. But given that I was one of the slowest of my friends streaking that night, bringing me home half naked was probabky the officer’s way of encouraging me to become a faster runner.
To this day she asks me what I was thinking. To this day my answer remains: I don’t know, Mom. I was in high school. It seemed like a fun idea at the time.
It’s reasonable to assume that other gray hairs came from the time she got a call from me while I was in university and police had detained me for committing a youthful indescretion, or the time she rushed me to the hospital because of a 104-degree fever, or the time she learned I was minutes away from getting hitched at a Nevada chapel, or the other time she rushed me to the hospital with another high-fever, or the time I walked 35 miles overnight to prove a point, or the time she found out I had been coerced into donating $40 to a Tijuana police officer’s retirement fund when I should have been in the U.S. studying at a friend’s house.
The gifts and the stories go on.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I promise no more gray hairs.