When it comes to moms, I have a lot of firsthand experience. Being wed three times and having two kids from different marriages is the marital equivalent of a “triple-double” in basketball. Three moms, three marriages, two kids, two step-moms. The way I look at it, the more moms the merrier!
But the act of childbirth is the real showstopper, one that puts everything into perspective. Once you’ve seen a baby being born live, in person, not on YouTube, from a woman you’ve personally impregnated — and not with a turkey baster — you are forever changed. You have a profound understanding that:
Your life has just changed forever.
You appreciate and respect all moms.
You’ll be way more careful next time.
After witnessing childbirth, the Grand Canyon and the Rolling Stones in concert, you can prematurely die a happy man who has led an abbreviated-yet-meaningful life.
From where I’m sitting, it looks like being a mom is no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise. Whether it’s constantly doing laundry, cooking, making lunches and scheduling appointments, or dealing with the constant docudramas of adult-children, the role of being a mother never stops; it merely morphs into a different permutation of the same thankless thing. Instead of changing diapers, she’s bailing the kid out of a bad relationship, or jail.
The days I miss are those when your mom was the judge, jury and executioner. If someone wronged you, your mom would either pick up the phone or storm over to their house, grab the little monster by the ear and set them straight. Like the time my mom dressed me up in a little sailor’s suit and the neighborhood bullies smeared dog-doo on me. Come to think of it, actually, those culprits were never brought to mommy-justice. I’m pretty sure they’re still on the loose.
And now it’s time for a confession: My mom still dresses me. What started off here in Aspen as outfits from the Bill Bullocks department store has seamlessly transitioned to wardrobe upgrades from the James Perse store — where Ozzie’s used to be — another place she used to buy tennis shoes and moon boots for me. One thing that’s for certain, every time I’m wearing one of my “mommy outfits” I never fail to get a compliment. People who know me know that I never could’ve picked out fashionable styles like that on my own.
Another area where my mom still wields eternal power over me is the haircut department. I can scoff at all suggestions by friends, strangers, work associates and even loved ones of getting my mangy mop mowed. But when my mom says it’s time, I go waddling into the salon like a puppy for what she calls a “young man’s haircut.”
As a middle-aged man, telling your mom on someone seems to have little, if any effect, other than perhaps very temporary emotional support that vanishes like a mirage on the highway of life. Nowadays if you bore her with the convoluted self-made predicament you’re in, or that somebody said something mean about you on the internet, she’ll more than likely laugh and say something like, “You’re on your own. I’m not touching that one with somebody else’s 10-foot pole!”
So what do you get the marvelous mountain mom who has everything for Mother’s Day? A day off? An inedible breakfast in bed of flour-and-water pancakes made by her kids? How about a prescription for some painkillers, a maid, a chef and a nanny? Maybe a surrogate mother for her next pregnancy? Fear not, there’s a new, more socially acceptable version of “Mother’s little helper”: an e-bike. She’ll love you for it, and you’ll be able to go on rides with her without losing your mind because she can’t keep up. On second thought, scratch that. As badass as the moms are around here, it’s the husband who’s going to need the e-bike to keep up.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the awesome moms, stepmoms and mothers-to-be! We wouldn’t be here without you!