Willem's preschool had a tea. Nothing went majorly wrong, but the event had an uncomfortable, "off" feel to it. It probably wasn't necessary for one of the teachers to announce that a staff member who had needed to study for an exam had stayed up until 1 am making the cupcakes. That just made me feel even worse when none of the other moms at the table ate their cupcakes. Come on, ladies. You can't all be gluten intolerant.
Next, one of the school administrators came up and prayed for us in the kind of tremulous speaking voice that (fairly or not) makes me question the person's emotional/mental/spiritual stability.
Then: "I have a gift for all of you, and I'm so excited. I'm not sure how it's going to go, but I've been practicing a lot," she quavered. And with that confidence-inspiring introduction, she cued the music and launched into the William Tell Overture "Mom Song." Awkward.
There was no where to go but up from there, right? Video interviews with each child were next -- that could only be awesome.
"Why is your mom special?"
"My mom is special because she's beautiful." Aww went the room.
There were more in that vein. The girls usually said sweet, thoughtful things. The boys, like Willem, said more self-centered but still positive things like "She loves me."
But two of the boys said nothing in their interviews. Nothing at all.
"What's special about your mom?"
"What do you love about your mom?"
(Squirming in the chair, looking away from the camera.)
A few more futile tries, and it was a wrap.
Shaun didn't think this sounded like a big deal when I relayed the story to him, and, in the big scheme of things it probably wasn't. As a mom, though, I found it heartbreaking. Later I learned that the school had been running late on the project and had done the taping that very morning, so they probably didn't have time to try again. But I say better to ditch the whole idea than make a mom sit in a room full of other women and watch her child come up empty on those questions.
So that was Willem's thing. Nels's "Moms, Muffins, and Manicures" morning was, despite the name, less weird. The biggest challenge was fitting five full-grown moms and all of the celebratory accouterments at each cluster of five first-grade sized desks and chairs. The kids sang for us before we dined on giant muffins and fruit punch. I thought "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" was an odd song choice, but Nels performed, as always, with gusto. We were given handmade cards, tissue-paper flower pictures, and wrist corsages fashioned of tulle, artificial flowers, and pipe cleaners. It was charming.
And, yes, most of us acquiesced to having our fingernails painted by our children. A mom next to me hemmed and hawed for a while before picking a barely visible color for her nails. "I have to go back to work after this," she told her son. I knew Nels would be into it, but I was surprised to find that the boys were just as eager to paint nails as the girls were. Perhaps more so, because of the novelty.
On Mother's Day For Real, I was getting over being sick, so we didn't really make plans ahead of time. Shaun orchestrated the making of cards and got me some treats and the book Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose by Flannery O'Connor, which I hadn't asked for but really wanted. So nice.
After church we agonized for quite a while about where we might go to eat that was worth going to but wouldn't cost us an arm and a leg. We settled on Montage, which was a good call. Our friend Amanda takes her students there every time they come to town, but we hadn't been yet. Foolish us. I think I was put off by their "playful" cocktail menu when I checked them out online. (A brunch cocktail with Tangerine Emergen-C in it? Aack!) But the service was good, the place had a ton of personality, and it was totally affordable.
The most expensive item on the brunch menu was a flatiron steak and eggs at $9. The boys' breakfasts were a little crazy with paprika, but I loved my BLT, and Shaun's biscuit sandwich was rich but plate-licking good. We'll be back. Hopefully before my next week of Mother's Days.