I asked for it: what could I do to be a better mother, Reese?
You are perfect, Mom. You are an EXCELLENT mother, she replied.
I know, I know, but if there was something, anything I could do to improve, a teeny tiny thing -
Well, you could play with your kids more.
WHAP. BANG. STRAIGHT TO THE GUT. ON THE FLOOR. NO SIGNS OF LIFE.
What do you mean, I ask calmly. What I mean is NEVER MIND, SORRY I ASKED.
Well, during the week we rush home and you’re making dinner and then you’re the last one to sit down at the table and then you’re the last to sit for books because you’re doing dishes -
HEART CRUSHED. BARELY BREATHING.
But you are so sweet, Mama. I love you sooooooooo much. You are an execellent mother.
My good friend and I are at lunch today and I confess this. My glaring deficiency.
Can you believe it, I say, what a horrible mother.
I don’t play with my kids enough either she says, and I stay home with them.
YOU ARE AN EXCELLENT MOTHER, I say to my good friend, and mean it.
We are all trying. Our legs are spinning and running like we are on unicycles. And we are doing well, mostly. As mothers, we are doing pretty well. Maybe we should play more. Maybe we should.
We also should say GO PLAY WITH YOUR BROTHER. And go take a bath with a magazine and a glass of wine. But we don’t. So there’s that.
My good friend and I decide that we will start by leaving the dishes in the sink longer. We will pretend they are not there. Perhaps we will do them in the morning.
Tonight, we will play Candyland.