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Man of the House by Chris Erskine

Multi-tasking holiday

Mothers de Mayo combines the best of both worlds for a Mom who does it all.

May 15, 2008|Chris Erskine

Do MOTHERS need a special day? Does Jack Black need a sedative? Of course the mothers need a special day.

"How about a baseball theme?" I ask the kids. You know, baseball napkins, big bowls of roasted peanuts. Steroids.

"Dad, it's not a kid's birthday."

"It's not?"

"No, it's not," notes the lovely and patient older daughter.

"She's not 5, Dad," says her little sister.

Hmm, now they're setting all sorts of rules. Used to be, you could throw a Mother's Day bash and everybody was pretty impressed that:

1) You remembered.

2) You prepared in advance in any way at all.

3) You didn't just buy her booze.

Mother's Day, Smother's Day, I showed them how to celebrate a mom.

"Mothers de Mayo!" I finally said.

"Huh?"

"Mothers de Mayo," I said. "The best elements of Mothers Day and Cinco de Mayo, all rolled into one day."

"Huh?"

"We'll celebrate the day the mothers drove the French out of Mexico," I explained.

"Dad, the mothers never did that," noted the boy.

"They didn't?"

"No."

"Well, it's just a matter of time," I explained.

So, Mothers de Mayo it was. After all, if Internet companies or airlines can merge, why not holidays? Christmas and New Year's come too close together anyway. And how about Halloween and Thanksgiving. Trick or turkey?

Anyway, for Mothers de Mayo, we served Americanized Mexican food (ground beef mixed with ground beef) and margaritas (tequila with a splash of lime mix and ice). Too fancy? Nothing's too fancy for a mom.

Besides, their mother is everything to us: nurse, nutritionist, computer tech, seamstress, sorceress, arborist, ethicist, coach. All year, she tutors, feeds, washes, mends, teases, pushes and prods. And that's just me. You should see all the things she does for the kids.

Their mother doesn't deserve a day -- she deserves her own country. She has birthed four children, taught three of them to drive, at least two of them to wipe their faces with a napkin, not their sleeves. She's like nothing we've ever seen before. She's Snow White. She's Madame Curie.

"Where are you going now, Dad?"

"Macy's," I said.

Here are two tips for any future Mothers de Mayo shopping you might have to do: Pottery Barn and Macy's. With those two stores alone, you can knock out a lot of the mothers on your list.

Unlike what the name implies, Pottery Barn isn't a barn at all but a big store with lots of cool furnishings, not just pottery. For instance, I have limited taste and zero style. But Pottery Barn has both of those. You can pretty much close your eyes and point across the Pottery Barn. Just be sure you aren't pointing to another dad. That's a tough one to explain, two dudes pointing at each other.

Macy's is much the same. An added bonus: Many female customers at the Sherman Oaks Macy's look and act like Cher: prone to shiny fabrics, bare midriffs and an exotic Eastern European hippie flair.

You should see them attack the shoe racks. On the Wednesday I was there, only one person seemed to be working, poor Jeff, and he came flying out of the stock room with four or five boxes at a time. He was like a SWAT team of shoes, poor Jeff. Stiletto heels for this Cher here, more stilettos for the Cher grandma over there. What a rich, wonderful scene it was. It put me in a warm, fuzzy Mothers de Mayo mood.

"Who wanted the gold pumps?" Jeff shouted, and a dozen Chers tackled him to the ground.

I came away with slight abrasions and a pair of leather sandals that I thought their mother might like a lot (she did). I also bought her a big, honkin' stainless steel coffee maker -- stainless steel being her fave color these days.

"Dad, does it grind?" the lovely and patient older daughter asked when I got home.

"Huh?"

"Because Mom doesn't want one unless it grinds."

Well, it grinds all right. Like Cher, it grinds. It also roasts, toasts and tucks you into bed at night, smothering you with little kisses.

No, wait -- that's their mother who does all that. Queen of their world. Mistress of my universe.

--

Reach Chris Erskine by e-mail at chris.erskine@ latimes.com. To see more of his columns, visit latimes.com/erskine.

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