A Mother’s Day ode —and apology —to my Mom

I am using this space to confess a gross misdeed I have recently committed.

Not often has such a lowdown, dirty being slinked forth from the primordial ooze to commit such sins. I try not to be the inspiration of ancient stories of evil creatures who wrong the innocent. But somehow, I managed to really mess up, big time.

I forgot my mother’s birthday.

Yes, I did. It was March, I should have known better. My parents’ anniversary is the same month. Cousin’s birthday not too far off. My alarm should have gone off. But I totally biffed it on this one.

I am horrible, terrible, awful with dates. Birthdays, concerts, holidays – totally a blur, unless there’s some sort of holiday special on TV to clue me in. Sadly, Rankin/Bass never made a claymation special about my mom being born, though it would have probably been better than “Rudolph’s Shiny New Year.”

I usually leave it to Facebook to alert me to when I am just about to be a complete ingrate and forget a loved one’s special day. But sometimes, an event slips through the cracks. When I called my mother one day, my faux pas unbeknownst to me, I felt like poo. And after I learned that I had not only forgot her birthday, but also could not remember exactly what day it was, I didn’t have the money to run out and hire a team of bodybuilding barbershop singers to show up at her door with balloons and chocolate puppies.

Now I?really am the inspiration for boogeyman stories about evil creatures who wrong the innocent. “Watch out, if you forget Mother’s Day, the Negligent Daughter will come get you!” And hence, I emerge from underneath a futon to torment some husband who forgot an anniversary or a child who didn’t bother to make their macaroni-and-glitter card in art class.

So, Mom, I?am apologizing for forgetting your birthday. And to make up for it, on this Mother’s Day, I am singing the praises of being raised by such a great mom, person and friend.

My mom always read me books and did all the voices – you can’t just read all the characters in one voice, duh.

She threw down on a bunch of other moms at Hills to get me a Cabbage Patch Kid.

She always got us the best birthday cakes, because a kid’s current obsession must be captured in cake form, from Strawberry Shortcake to Ren and Stimpy to Pink Floyd.

She never blew a gasket when I would come downstairs with blue hair … or red hair … or green hair … or purple hair. Or sometimes a combination of two or three. Piercings, dog collars, black lipstick; my mom was accepting of all forms of expression, as long as I was doing good in school and was a good person. Straight A’s begat free reign on wardrobe, and my mom knew how important band T-shirts and spikes were to a teenager.

My mom went to all of my marching band events when I was in the Warren G. Harding band. She taught us music, writing and reading, and I ate it up all through school.

My mom taught us never to leave a light on when you leave a room, never to go up or down stairs or into the kitchen empty-handed, to have respect for your home and your things, to make the most of what you had.

She taught me that there’s always such a thing as a free lunch, if you know where to get the coupons.

She taught me to speak my mind, to never turn a blind eye to injustices, to keep myself informed, to leave a mark on the world.

She rode a bike in the snow to work when we had no car. She and my dad always scraped together what they could to give us as much as they could.

So, Mom, happy Mother’s Day. I love you, and I’ll never forget your birthday again. I’m having it tattooed on me. You never gave me grief over tattoos, either. You rock.

Love your mom? Tell me about her at ssepanek@tribtoday.com, or comment on this story at www.tribtoday.com.