Column: Magic-mom touch saves birthday


I recently celebrated a birthday. My mom came up for the occasion and took my daughters and me out for a whirlwind shopping spree that ended with the mother lode of all sales ($60 to $90 coats marked down to $5. FIVE DOLLARS!). That evening, we ordered pizza and heard her stories of being pregnant in the ‘70s, learning she was carrying twins two weeks prior to delivering (thanks to an honest-to-God x-ray, which might explain quite a few things about me!) and deciding what boy names she’d chosen for each of her five daughters. (Your favorite columnist could have been Mark.)

But the best part of the day came at an unexpected moment. I was shoving clothes into my teenage son’s dresser so my mom could at least find the bed she’d be sleeping in when I slammed the drawer closed on my finger. The pain was so intense I almost vomited when I got to the kitchen sink, but Mom was at my side immediately.

As I ran cold water over my hand, she began rubbing my back, comforting me with her words and presence. She kept telling me I would be okay, that it didn’t look that bad. She gave me ibuprofen and then prepared an ice pack. She instructed me to sit down and elevate my hand, all while keeping my kids away and distracting me with comments about our house and the weather and how a younger sister, much like I do, goes bat-poo crazy at her fourth-grader’s basketball games.

I didn’t realize it until later, but the best part of my birthday was that hour on the couch with my mom. Sure, my wounded finger had throbbed like nobody’s business, but I had someone taking care of me. I was allowed to just be a hurting child again and not worry about all the parental duties and responsibilities I was neglecting. Normally if I am indisposed due to illness or traumatic injury, the kids show sympathy for about two minutes, only until they need help with homework or finding their lunchboxes or whatever. And my husband, though amazing, just isn’t used to being a caregiver. If I go down for the count, Doo responds either like a deer in headlights, paralyzed by panic, or like a typical man, somewhat short on empathy.

But moms are special. They have that magical touch of knowing exactly what to say and do to “make it all better.” And guess what? They never lose that touch, even when their babies are 40-ish. So despite my nearly lopping off my finger, I enjoyed a wonderful birthday, thanks to my mom (and the five-dollar coats!). Peace out.

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