There is a strange bond between men and the women who raise them. We are dependent on our mothers for life-sustaining food and shelter as very young children, while they depend on us as part of what defines and deepens their lives and livelihoods. That, and we depend on our mothers as little men to tell us the truth about the ugly, wrong-in-every-way outfits they buy us. They coo over us as children and smooth the wrinkles out of stupid looking short sets and creepy polo shirts. Men know from birth that we were made to wear two things: dirt and animal attraction. We somehow believe mom, however, when she tells us tiny beige leisure suits are adorable. That is the power the women who give birth to us hold. Despite the way they combed our hair constantly with mom spit and called every woman we ever tried to impress our “little girlfriend,” each man feels a mysterious compunction to go and visit mom on Mother’s Day. In my case, it’s because my wife (formerly referred to as “Who’s your little girlfriend?”) makes me visit.
I try to assuage my bad son guilt feelings by presenting mom with a gift each mother’s day. Much difficulty goes into the choice of gift given. The journey toward redeemed son-hood begins with getting up from my desk at the hospital and going upstairs to the gift shop. Lots of stairs, but the gift is important. Every gift choice comes with hearing mom’s voice. If I choose to give her soap, I distinctly hear “Soap? Do you think I’m dirty?” No good. Maybe some Absinthe, for which I can hear her scolding me with “Absinthe? Do you think I’m Edgar Allen Poe?” I always get her a card, which after a year is still displayed on her piano. No matter what they dressed us in, our moms harbor some secret pride for us. Even if I don’t own a leisure suit.