Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there, or to anyone who has, or has had, a Mom. I have dozens of photographs of my mother, but this is my favourite because she was caught off guard having her picture taken by Foncie, the famous street photographer in Vancouver. This picture is now in the Foncie's Photos exhibit at the Vancouver Museum. I think my mother would get a chuckle out of that. She has that expression that my brothers and I came to recognize so well. "What, may I ask, are you doing...?" in her South African accent. Well, usually we were up to no good, but she seemed to like us anyway ... most of the time, that is.
Being a mother is not easy, and you definitely need a sense of humour. I remember when I was about three or four years old, I happened upon some of the little neighbourhood boys having a -- shall we say -- contest, to see who could pee the farthest. Being the good sport I was, I wanted to join in, but I didn't have the right apparatus, and I was really puzzled. Why didn't I have one of those? I felt I had been gypped, and I was very curious about them. When my mother discovered us, she sent all the little boys home and took me into the house, sat me on the chesterfield and said, "Wait until your father gets home!" I sat there for two hours, filled with fear and dread. Finally I heard my father's footsteps on the back stairs, and some mumbled whispering in the kitchen, and then my father roared with laughter. I had never heard my father laugh so hard. My mother broke down and started laughing too, and for ten minutes the two of them roared hysterically while I sat trembling on the chesterfield. Finally, I got up and went back outside to play and the whole incident was never mentioned again. The only lesson I really learned is that if you're a parent you have to laugh because childhood is innocence and insanity, and you can't take it too seriously.
I think Mother's Day is for children, not for mothers. It's the one day of the year when the kids can fumble around in an attempt to make breakfast, or buy a completely unusable gift, or make a funny little card, or do something sweet that they would not otherwise do the other 364 days of the year. And it's the one day of the year when mothers should never say, "What, may I ask, are you doing...?"
Happy Mother's Day...!