Mother’s Day Is Every Day

When I was 11, I went to stay with my dad for the summer in Detroit. He and my mom had divorced sometime in ‘79/80 and my mom took me back to Toledo to raise me. The authorities had deemed he was not welcome in the state of Ohio so I had to spend weekends and breaks with him, when he was around and not in jail. As I got older, I started to lose interest in hanging out with him. There is only so much time you can watch someone pass out from drugs or drinking, missing your baseball games and general disinterest until you recognize your value to them.

My mom hadn’t really had an extended period of time to herself without having to worry about me. Now that my father had remarried, she figured he could deal with me for a whole summer and she could have some time alone. She was wrong.

I think maybe a week in, I wanted to leave. I hated my stepmom and pitied my sister for having to grow up in a basement apartment in Detroit. Most of all, I missed my mom.

I spent the next few weeks growing increasingly bored and anxious to leave. I had visited the corner record store everyday and thumbed through all the Skid Row records I couldn’t afford. I had seen enough arson and missed enough baseball games. I wanted to come home.

One day, I had a strong feeling in my gut and just picked up the phone to call my mom. This was in the day of rotary phones and her line was busy. I was annoyed and I missed home. I wanted to go back now.

I called again. Still busy. I was getting mad. My mom was back home, enjoying life without me, probably learning golf or drinking margaritas now that she didn’t have to worry about me.

I called two more times. Both busy. Now I was really mad. I knew my dad couldn’t care a whole lot about me but my mom?! The one who I had only really spent my time around? The mom who taught me to grow up and be my own person, to fend for myself and to never let anyone push them around? Now she is not giving a shit about me too?!

Finally the phone at my dad’s rang.

It was my mom.

“Hello? Derek?”

Yeah, who have you been talking to? I have tried to call you 6 different times!

“I have been trying to call you for the last 10 minutes but the phone has been busy every time I dialed!”

My mom and I both had been trying to call each other, instinctively, because we missed each other at the same time.

“I am coming to get you this weekend. I miss you too much” she said. She didn’t even really ask if I wanted to leave, she already knew.

I had garbage for a father but gold for a mom.