Yeah, four years ago. Not four weeks, or, like a halfway decent mom, four months. No.
Anyway, I must have saved this
Happy Mother’s Day to My Mommy
My mom is 50 years old
The color of my mom’s hair is black
Her favorite thing is to take me to the park or watch House Hunters
Mommy's job is selling pasta pans at the kitchen place
Her all-time favorite food is pizza
My mom’s favorite drink is vino
(Of course, this was accompanied by a full-color over-sized drawing of black-haired Mommy looking surprisingly like a praying mantis.) Ah, yes, all those fun memories are flooding back to Mommy’s 42-year-old blonde head. And by the way, when he answered these “get to know you” questions, I was only 38!
The thing I am most mortified about is, of course, the “vino” comment. I very very much was hoping the teacher would just pass right by that, that it could go unnoticed, like a preschooler hiding his half-eaten sandwich behind the couch. But, like the half-eaten sandwich (most likely egg-salad), this “vino” thing would have to be addressed sooner or later. In my case, sooner.
I remember the precise moment Ms. Giraldi was handing me the backpack with the offending Mother’s Day card inside. “MOV, just so you know, there are, uh, a couple, uh…. ‘interesting’ comments that Tall made about you in your special Mother's Day card.”
Having not yet read The Card at this point, I could only imagine what she was referring to (my eBay addiction? me getting up early to go to the gym but then actually going to Starbucks? me
“Ms. Giraldi, preschoolers say such cute things, don’t they?” I offered as a preemptive strike, my Inner Coward doing what she did best: panic and overreact.
“Ha ha ha ha, yeah they do,” she gave a fake laugh. “Let me just start by saying that at least he got your job right. There's this other boy in his class, Benji, who, when asked what kind of work his mom did said, ‘She doesn’t do a damn thing.’ I. Was. Dying. Hilarious! Of course, that's the typical response when we get to the dad’s line of work…..”
Would it be rude of me to open Tall's little backpack right now and just get it over with? I wondered. I acted as nonchalant as the situation would allow. “What, uh, I mean, could you be more specific on the ‘interesting’ part?”
She leaned in and whispered, “He said your favorite drink was ‘vino’.”
Long uncomfortable silence.
She continued, choosing her words carefully. “I've noticed your son has a slight lisp sometimes, so I thought I’d better ask him again, just to make sure I heard him right. Then he explained to me: ‘vino—you know, Ms. Giraldi, it comes in a bottle and you drink it? There are different kinds like Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio?’”
(Ms. Giraldi was just out of college and seemed like a fun girl. If one were to cast her in a Hollywood production, Scarlett Johansson would be the top choice for the role of Anna Giraldi. I tried to keep this "fun-loving, college-girl" persona in the back of my mind as I was thinking please-don't-call-Child-Protective-Services-and-report-I'm-a-lush.)
I’m not sure if it was the pure raw embarrassment or the residual vodka left over in my system from the previous night, but I could feel my cheeks turning a blotchy Valentine of red and pink. “Kids! Those kooky kids! Ha ha ha, ‘vino’! What a kidder!” I threw out in desperation. This was no mere save. This was a flop.
Then I flashbacked to what I had given Ms. Giraldi for a Christmas present only 5 months earlier: a bottle of Merlot. I had asked The Husband what I should get her, and he (wisely, for once) answered, “MOV, she might like a gift certificate to Pyramid of Books. Then she can choose a book she likes; teachers always love books. Maybe buy, like, a $25 gift card?”
What had my lovely response been to The Husband? I had laughed uncontrollably and said (and I am paraphrasing here), “Sweetie, she's hanging around screaming 3-year-olds all day. What she really needs is a good bottle of wine.” Which is just what we gave her.
So, getting back to today and the one-of-a-kind Mother’s Day card. Do I throw it away, or do I possibly frame it? I ultimately decide to tuck it into the pages of Tall’s Baby Book: one day, his children can appreciate that their dad drove his HGTV-watching, pan-selling, Domino's-loving mommy to drink. Cheers!
(“Merlot Or Vodka?”)