Unlike 13-year-old William Rabillo of Nevada, who traded his Xbox to buy his single mom a Chevy Metro last month, my son won’t honor me with a car, let alone a card.
He used to draw me cards. By sixth grade, he refused to support Hallmark or the floral industry.
I said, “That’s how you feel, but I value mushy, overwritten cards and red roses that have no scent.” That didn’t persuade Adam; he was always too sensible.
For years, I drove him to our San Diego shopping center, handed him cash and waited while he bought me a Mother’s Day card. I was teaching my son to do the right thing.
I was a Long Island-raised NYC writer marooned in San Diego. As a single mom, I was broke and had migraines. Yet, that boy was my joy.
Unlike other families who lived in houses with bonus rooms, we shared a room, and I begged for scholarships. I was sorry I couldn’t give my son more, like siblings or pets. We didn’t even have plants.
I ferried him on play dates and to sports games, to the library and museums. I thought I was a good mom, but Adam begged to differ.
I forgot how much he weighed in front of his first-grade class. (Was I supposed to memorize that?)
I cooked spaghetti carbonara when he was an athlete eating healthy.
I threw him a surprise pizza party, though he hated parties.
And when he was in high school, I goofed again. He called about another college acceptance.
“Mom, I got into Stanford.”
“Oh my God. I’m so proud of you,” I said.
“Thanks,” he responded.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
He laughed. “Let’s not tell Papa and Grandma until Monday to see if it’s a mistake.”
He did get accepted. He continued to call on my birthdays and picked up the check when we last had dinner. At my sister’s funeral, he steadied me when I needed it.
Adam landed a good education and job, and he remained grounded. He is a solid young man, despite his mother’s bungling.
This Mother’s Day, instead of feeling bad that he doesn’t appreciate me, I will send him a card — a flashy, $7 thank -you with big flowers on the cover that requires two stamps.
Instead of sending a card with a prerecorded tune, I’ll create a message in my voice saying, “Thank you for making me a mother.”
Barbara Field is a writer who teaches memoir writing.