Mother's Day Checklist

Thu. May 10, 2007 12:00 AM
by Feature Column

It is tough being Mom. A mom's work is never done. Even holidays, while the rest of the family is relaxing in front of the plasma, Mom's are slaving away: wrapping gifts on Christmas, preparing turkeys on Thanksgiving, hiding eggs on Easter.

The second Sunday of May is the only true day of rest for Mom. It's also the one day of the year when gay sons and daughters are required to show their gratitude to the number one lady in their lives. Of course, as gay children, you should be showing your love and gratitude every day of the year. We are statistically better children than our straight siblings. But Mother's Day is the one day of the year to really go over the top with your love for mom. Jane Rave, mother of a gay son and author of Conversations and Cosmopolitans: How To Give Your Mother a Hangover, offers tips on how to make sure that Mom enjoys her special day.

Call Your Mother.

One Mother's Day after presenting me with my yearly bouquet of beautiful flowers, my son Robert returned back to his apartment in New York City. As I always do, I asked him to call me when he got home so that I knew that he was safe and sound. Hours came and went, and nothing. As it approached midnight, I began to panic. I had read about these mysterious disappearances before and imagined him lying helplessly in a dark alley somewhere. Needless to say, I finally tracked him down, with the help of his doorman, as he walked in with a "guest". Now, of course, I was relieved that Robert was alive and well, but for putting me through a night of unnecessary panic, I could have killed him.

A Simple "I Love You" is the Best Gift of All.

Robert was so excited to give me my Mother's Day gift he could barely stand it. I was packed and ready to catch a taxi to the airport when he asked me to close my eyes. When I opened them, I wasn't quite sure what to say. "It's an orchid," he said. Now, I may live in a small town in the Midwest, but I know what an orchid is. "A plant?" I asked, surprised. "It's an orchid," he repeated with pride. "B-b-but I'm getting on a plane," I tried to explain. "It can sit on your lap," he said. I smiled as we walked to the curb and Robert hailed a cab for me and I awkwardly climbed into the car with my orchid. I carried that orchid with two bags through the crowded airport, then into security when, to my horror, I was forced to put it on the conveyor belt. I grabbed what was left of it and boarded the plane and sat in my middle seat with the orchid on my lap the entire flight. I looked like a crazy person—but I did it—because my son was proud to give it to me. By the time my husband picked me up at the airport, the beautiful orchid was a stick in a pot. So, the moral of the story is, if your mother is about to board a plane, a nice "I love you, Mom" will suffice. It's easier to carry.

Prepare a Memorable Mother's Day Breakfast.

I sipped my coffee, gleefully taking in the bright morning at my favorite New York City restaurant Pastis, while anticipating my French toast. The day was picture perfect and it was my annual Mother's Day morning with my son. "Mom, I have an idea for a book," he said. I was so happy to hear this news. "That's fantastic!" I exclaimed. "My son, the author," I was so proud. Then he paused and said, "I think we should write a book together. It would be about our lives; me being gay, and you know, your life and stuff." My life and stuff? In a book? My coffee suddenly tasted like toilet water. I couldn't fathom who, what, where, and more importantly the WHY? "You are the voice of mothers across the country with gay children who are trying to understand them. Your voice would let parents know its okay to laugh with their kids about their sexuality, as opposed to the typical gloom-and-doom scenario," he said. "But I'm not qualified," I argued. "Wouldn't I need a degree in gay psychology or gay sex or something? I'm a bad gay mom. I think my membership at PFlag may have even expired." An hour and several back and forths later, I took a deep breath, looked my son in the eyes, and said, "If this is what you need me to do, I will do it. Now where is my French toast?"

Offer Mother Something New to Dote Over.

The Mother's Day before Robert left for college, he bought me a puppy. He knew I was having a difficult time with the thought of his leaving the nest and figured a dog might fill up some of the emptiness I was feeling. When I first set eyes on the furry little creature, I remember thinking, "Oh great, just what I need; another thing to clean up after". It didn't take long, however, to discover that the animal agreed with everything I had to say and never talked back. He was always eagerly waiting for me when I got home and never asked to borrow money. And, if truth be told, the dog was much cleaner than Robert.

Remember, for at least One Day, Mother is Your Number One Girl.

Here's a little known fact: Mother's Day began in the United States in 1872 as a day dedicated to peace. They should have added a day of peace and QUIET. Now, I'm a not usually insensitive when it comes to affairs of the heart, but I knew I was in for trouble when ten minutes before we were set to leave for the restaurant to celebrate my day, Robert's best girl friend Jennifer called with news that she and her boyfriend had broken up. "She was dumped, Mom, I have to stop by her apartment to make sure she is ok," said Robert. "OK," I acquiesced, "but please hurry back. I'm starving." Two long hours later, Robert returned. When we arrived at the restaurant, we had lost our reservation and were forced to wait another hour for a table. We returned home at 2:30AM and there was a message on the machine. Jennifer had committed a D.W.I. (Dialing While Intoxicated) and had rekindled the fires with her ex. Exacerbated, I made Robert promise that for every Mother's Day, he would turn his cell phone off, set his email to "away", and give me the one day. Jennifer can have the other 364.

Jane Rave's new book CONVERSATIONS AND COSMOPOLITANS: How To Give Your Mother A Hangover, co-written with her gay son Robert, is in stores now. For more information, visit www.convosandcosmos.com.

Buy COSMOPOLITANS: How To Give Your Mother A Hangover at shop.chicagopride.com