Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mother's Day Wild Goose Chase

Being an incurable complainer, I have an endless stream of stories about shitty Mother's Days I've had, most of which center on me getting my hopes up that I'd be venerated the way I would like to be by my husband and kids and feeling thoroughly disappointed and let down when nobody venerates me, not even for a millisecond. So I have made a concerted effort in the past year or two to manage my expectations, which is to say understand very early on that it will be a day like any other where I will be woefully under-appreciated, taken for granted and abused by blood relations. The only difference being, I get to pick where we eat lunch.

This Mother's Day I thought back to my favorite Mother's Day, when Seconda was a newborn, just about the age Terza is now, and we took the kids to the East VIllage and walked down Eighth Street, stopped into some of the old coffee shops I used to haunt in my youth and had lunch at this delicious little creperie. For some reason, this stands out in my mind as the Best Mother's Day Ever. In point of fact, I don't recall anything at all about that day (I was so sleep deprived with the newborn and Primo a toddler that I have amnesia surrounding that entire year) but I do have a picture David took of me at lunch - I am wearing a pre-pregancy button down Miss Sixty blouse and the baby is wearing an adorable kimono onesie gifted by a friend with a lot of disposable income and the long and the short of it is --- we look GREAT.  I look skinny, the baby looks adorable and compliant and we both look genuinely stinking happy. And that is good enough proof for me that henceforth, I should use that Downtown Crepe Lunch as my Mother's Day template. 

So this Sunday, David, the kids and I headed out to the Lower East Side, to a little crepe stand on Ludlow Street, where we feasted on overpriced and under-whelming fare that reminded me of my glory days in Paris. To continue the nostalgia fest, I decided I'd take the whole family on a walk down Ludlow to the junkyard where I performed in a cutting edge performance of Romeo and Juliet the summer I started dating David. Those of you in the know about downtown theater circa 1999 might recall the phenomenon known as Shakespeare in the Park (ing Lot). This was not part of that. I auditioned for that and didn't even score a call back. This production was a knock-off a few blocks away, in an actual junkyard, with rats. The piles of old tires were the miss en scene. David came to see me play the Nurse in that production and afterwards we went out for drinks and that's basically how we ended up married with three kids. And since I haven't been back around those parts since, oh, 1999, I thought it'd be fun to rake a walk down memory lane, with my kids in tow. Yeah, I know. Dumb. 

I explained this exciting plan to the kids as we scraped the last of the strawberries and Nutella off our plastic places. 

"Mommy, I'm sorry to say this but I don't want to see the junkyard where you did your play," said Primo, very politely (that being his concession to Mother's Day), "That sounds extremely boring."

"OK," I replied, just as politely, "Certainly. And we should do whatever YOU want today because after all, it is called First Born Son's Day."

It took a second for him to register the sarcasm. 

"You mean we HAVE to go anyway?" 

"Yes, of course," I replied.

"Oh God," he grumbled, "Mother's Day is the pits, It means you can force us to do whatever you want!"

I  explained that most days for most kids are like that. Its called childhood. 

So we dragged the grumbling, whining kids down Ludlow Street a few blocks before it occurred to me that it might have been on Stanton, or was it Rivington? Or could it have been Suffolk? 

"Mommy's taking us on a wild goose chase," said David, joining the ranks of the whiners. 

"Suffolk Street stands for 'Suffering of the Kid Folk on Mother's Day," piped up Primo. 

"All right, all right, I give up," I conceded, "I can't remember where the junkyard was and anyway, I'm pretty sure its an apartment building or an organic grocery by now."

"Hooray! Lets go to Economy Candy!" shrieked Seconda. 

Which we did. And then to the ABC playground which was blessedly empty, probably because all the other children in the city were busy baking homemade cakes in honor of their mothers. 

Afterwards we returned to the Slope and headed to our local playground for some low-key frolicking. What we got instead was nothing short of playground carnage. Blood. Tears. Emergency Dental Visits. Tune in next time to hear more . . .