Letters from the Nest for week of May 10, 2012

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Christie Elkins

I’m the Mommy, That’s Why

It takes great gusto to awaken in the morning, and with the added pressure of knowing you have to actually roll out of bed and magically become a responsible adult, sometimes a warm morning beverage is just the ticket to success.
One may prefer a warm roasted blend of hazelnut coffee with only a spoonful of creamer, while others get their morning jollies from a beloved childhood beverage of hot cocoa with a handful of marshmallows. My mother, however, always enjoyed a simple cup of tea, which is where our tale begins.
When I was growing up, I admittedly asked a lot of questions. My parents ever so fondly reminisce about the 10 hour trip to the beach we took when I was three years of age. After those 10 fateful hours of constant questioning, joke telling, and not even an inkling of a nap, they arrived ready to leave me in Virginia Beach. Little did they know, this was only the prelude to my budding curiosity. The older I became, the information I sought after the most came in the form of more frequent and detailed interrogation, mainly in the form of “why?”
Now, as earlier mentioned, as each of us rise with that morning hot beverage, one also chooses their most beloved mug with which to enjoy their favorite liquid refreshment.
So, as my mother consumed her tea every morning before work, it was only appropriate for her to consume this herbal goodness in a ceramic mug that really captured her innermost thoughts. The kind of thinking one does in front of a window overlooking their backyard, glancing to find the red birds and checking to see if the frost had melted from the back porch railing. Most mothers’ mugs would read “World’s Best Mom” or “I Love My Kids.”
Yet, as my mother pulled that yellow mug that she ordered out of its protective cardboard covering, the tension mounted to see what catch phrase the mug would behold. When the mug was held high in the air for all the family to read, my brother and I gasped and hid our eyes.
The mug so proudly stated, “I’m the Mommy, That’s Why”.
It was there to greet me every morning. It was there in the sink when I would rinse my dishes. It was there in spirit the form of a ring on the kitchen table. From that very moment to the day that I type this tale with my own hands, that mug has been the final say in every question, dispute, query, challenge, or probe that any two children could ever present in any rational form to their mother.
From the day I was formally introduced to that coffee mug and the horrendous message it so proudly and implicitly stated, I vowed that when I became mother in my own home, those words would never leave my mouth.
Three kids, two beta fish, and one husband later, it happened. I was trying so diligently to load the van of necessities from the grocery store such as diapers, gallons upon gallons of milk, and a box of Junior Mints to cram in my mouth on the way home. All day, questions such as “Why can’t we have chips and salsa for breakfast?’ or “Why can’t we eat what comes out of our noses?” or “Why do I have to wear clothes when we leave the house?” I could no longer take it. The response came out like an unstoppable regurgitation of words that seemed to fall from my trap “Because I’m the Mommy! That’s why!” Gasp! Oh the horror!
Was I turning into my mother?? I buckled everyone safely in their seats and ate that entire box of Junior Mints in that five mile trip home. I could not believe I said it; those very words that donned that cheap mug from so long ago.
What does your mug say?
Is it “No, you can’t have a snack, it’ll spoil your dinner?” or is it “Don’t make me come in there!” Or maybe it is the classic “Wait until your Daddy gets home!” (I have taken a sip from that mug a few times!) We all say things as mothers that we regret. Since this weekend is reserved for honoring mothers, remember to hug your mom tight, tell her you are sorry for 18 years of questioning, and buy her a new mug. Happy Mother’s Day!