"Hey Jerkfaces, it's my birthday!" (My mom would never actually say that because she's a lady.)
Was this before or after Uncle Chuck flushed your half of the last stick of gum down the toilet so he wouldn't have to share?
See that grace? Those beautiful lines? I inherited none of that.
When I was in 2nd grade we constructed these cards for Mother's Day based on a sample that our teacher brought in, and we all had to make a version of the same card, which featured a butterfly and a flower. Because I have never been one to go along with the crowd, it infuriated me that my mom would have to get the exact artwork that another mom was going to get. BECAUSE MY MOM IS BETTER THAN YOUR MOM AND YOU'LL NEVER CONVINCE ME OTHERWISE, SORRY.
1992. Dad is most likely telling you how gorgeous you are, because that's what you are, and that's what he does!
The worst part was the little poem that we had to copy from the chalkboard onto the card. It was so awful that to this day I still remember it: "Butterfly hover over my mother, tell her that I dearly love her." I know, it's gag-inducing. So, I started on the dumb card, while gnashing my teeth and doing a lot of loud sighing and generally making it known that I was not happy. I did my best though, because we were going to be graded on how well we matched the sample. (Do you realize how unbelievable my 2nd grade teacher was? Who GRADES a 7-year-old on how accurately they copy something made by the only adult in the room?)
I was always the class jokester but also had/have the additional joy of being an over-thinker (though I prefer the term "deep", as in, "You are SO deep and introspective!" and not so much as in, "You are deeply disturbed and clearly have too much time on your hands"), even back then.
1981. The Alamo. Remember? (Get it?)
So, while everyone else was having a good time coloring and cutting up construction paper, making the same card like they were little robots, my brain was looping these thoughts over and over: Butterflies can't even talk! If I'm leaving it up to a non-talking butterfly to TELL my mom that she's loved, it does not reflect well on me as a daughter. Whose idea was this? Where is that red marker? If the poem mentioned a talking parrot, that would make so much more sense. Or a woodpecker. At least they can tap out a message with their beaks. Does mom know morse code? Just about anything would be better than a non-verbal butterfly. Where is that yellow marker? Whose idea was this?
1983. h Xavier Roberts (with his arm around me!) Mom, and Missy with the cool rainbow shirt), Xavier is the inventor of Cabbage Patch Kids. Back then they were called "Little People" and you could only "adopt" them at a place in TN called Babyland General, which was made to look like an entire birthing unit. The little nurse in his hand is mine. Her name was Adele Phyllis (I didn't pick the name, just the doll!) and one of her little ass cheeks got signed that day by Mr. Roberts himself. Just look at him, he's as cute Adele!
When I gave my mom the card and told her how annoyed I was by the idea of an insect passing along MY affection for her, and that all the moms would be reading the same meaningless poem and would have the same kind of flower on their cards; she took in what I was saying and then genuinely told me how much she loved everything about the card, even that poem. Suddenly I didn't really care that there were 25 other moms getting the same card. My mom, THE BEST MOM, loved it!
1989. The Hallmark Maven, aka Boss Lady. She will crack the whip, and not in a good way.
1989. The Maven's assistant working hard at the after school job. I just finished putting together that entire display with the one token dude we had working there. Lucky for me he was hot and a gentleman at that, so he did all the heavy lifting; because honey, trust me when I tell you that I spent too much time on my hair that day to work up a sweat installing ornaments in freaking July.
I knew it wasn't because she believed that there would soon be a butterfly with a voice box and a heartfelt message to share while flapping it's pretty little wings, but it was because I made it especially for her, and did my best.
1991. Dad, Lowell Davis, his rooster & Mom
That is just one of the eleventy-thousand reasons why I love my mom, THE BEST MOM, whose birthday is today.
Fanilows! This was the night we saw Barry Manilow for free. Also known as the night I told JJ that Barry was, ahem, playing for the other team. While I was destroying all of her fantasies, I went ahead and broke the news about Santa Claus not being real. Then we had lots of drinks at Buck Bradley's, the finest (and longest) bar east of the Mississippi!
I'm not balancing a boot on my head, though it looks like I am! On your & Missy's 1997 trip to visit me in New York. "Hey Mom! You said you'd buy me some shoes for my birthday! These are the ones I really want!"
"Those? But they're so ugly! I'm going to need something besides this Balthazar lemonade to drink if you expect me to fork over that much cash for shoes that are so offensive to my eyesight."
Three tequila shots later... (just kidding!) Look at those new shoes! Thanks for buying those even though they were a lot of money and you thought they were truly and horribly disgusting. They actually lasted for years and I wore them all over NYC like I owned the joint!
1997. All that ugly-shoe shopping is stressful! Mom getting a snack (most likely rugelach) at the famous Russ and Daughters Deli in NYC.
Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you!
Missy, Mom, & Me at one of the million shows we've seen here in Chicago and (mostly) in NYC. We're total show whores (though my mom would never put it that way, because, like I said, she's a lady!).
No butterflies were harmed in the writing of this post.