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Thoughts On… Mother’s Day

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The other day, my mother called me like she always does. She calls every day. She calls to tell me what she’s doing, or to tell me about her day, or to tell me the latest deal in the grocery store. She calls about anything and everything. She talks away in rapid-fire Spanish and really, minimum input is required on my part. The occasional, “Mmm hmm,” one or two yeses and some listening sounds are sometimes my only contribution.

The other day, she called and talked to me about certain bathroom renovation plans. I half-listened while making soup.

“… No se como va a salir pero por ahora va bien la cosa. A ver si viene el Martes y asi empezamos a ver como va a funcionar…”(“… I don’t know how it’ll turn out but for now it’s all going well. If he comes over on Tuesday then we’ll start to see how things will work…“)

Suddenly her voice dropped away and there was a muffled sound.

“Hello?” I asked, alarmed. “Mama?”

“Ah, no pasa nada, es solo que…” (“Ah no everything is fine, it’s just…“) Another pause followed, and then suddenly, at the end of the phone, in English, “Hello! Where deed you cam from?”

I frowned, wooden spoon held aloft. “Mama?”

“No, no te hablo a ti,” (“No, I’m not talking to you“) she said. No kidding, I thought. She continued, “Es el perro del vecino, que se ha escapado.”(“It’s the neighbour’s dog, he’s escaped.“)

I nodded thoughtfully and placed the wooden spoon back in the pot to give the soup a half-hearted stir.

Another muffled sound.

“Do you wan to go hom? Weel I take you hom?”

More muffled sounds.

“Es el perrito del vecino, es muy mono, es que a veces se escapa. Ahora le traigo a casa.”(“It’s the neighbour’s little dog, he’s very cute. Sometimes he gets out. I’ll bring him home now.“)

A pause, and then, away from the mouthpiece, “Cam on, I take you hom.”

My eyes rolled to the ceiling as I considered the fact that my mother 1. was talking to the dog as if he might answer, 2. obviously believes the dog speaks English, and 3. also believes that the dog can somehow tell the difference between English and Spanish. I started to laugh then, softly at first and then harder and harder until I was doubled over against the counter. My mother, unaware of what I was laughing at, started laughing too. We laughed together over the phone; me, her, my spoon and the neighbour’s dog.

“Que? De que te ries?” She kept asking.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day.

I had a very different post lined up for today; an intensely personal post with mixed feelings and some fury that I wrote a while ago after a particularly bad day. I was feeling frustrated and upset and keyed-up and disappointed and angry and basically every kind of negative emotion that can be bundled into one moment. Sometimes Mother-Daughter relationships aren’t the stuff of most Mother’s Day cards. Every year I spend a long time looking through the card aisle before I can find one that is appropriate. I love my mother; she’s my mother. It’s just… complicated.

So on this, the day after Mother’s Day, I decided to share this moment instead, because that’s how she is. That’s how we are.

At least sometimes.

Happy Belated Mother’s Day to all of you out there who are mothers. Odd mothers, wonderful mothers, hardworking mothers. I hope you had a lovely day.

 

0 thoughts on “Thoughts On… Mother’s Day

    1. Funnily enough my mom speaks to our dog in Spanish, which means that my dog is bilingual, but the neighbour’s dog…. not so much.

  1. Nice – and timely too (for me) after ruminating on my latest post for a few hours. I never really thought about pets and language. Certainly they can tell the difference between spanish and english (and other languages). I wonder if there are speech sounds and patterns that animals prefer more. Someone should do a study.

  2. This sounds like a conversation me and my mom would have sans the Spanish… though she is teaching an ESL class filled with Hispanics who know very little English… maybe this conversation is in my future!

    Wonderful dedication to your mom, Quinn. 🙂

  3. Your post was sweet and very funny because now I’m imagining bilingual dogs. But it also gave me a mild heart attack that I forgot Mother’s Day. I didn’t know Mother’s Day was on different days in different countries. So I’m not a terrible son just yet. Phew.

  4. When I lived in France I used to speak to the dogs in French, but I’d consider it absolutely preposterous to speak to an English dog in French. So I’m with your mum on this one…

  5. Oh Quinn, you had me absolutely panicked. I thought I had missed Mother’s Day but, as with everything else, the US of A chose a different day to be our Mother’s Day meaning I have a little more time to find a card that says something along the lines of: You may have destroyed our family and ruined my idealistic beliefs on love and marriage, you may make me want to pull my hair out every single time we speak and I may not like you right now, but I do love you. I’m thinking Paper Source might have that card? Target?

    Sorry, you might be above the vitriolic diatribe but I’m… not.

    1. Hahaha mine is sitting snugly in my drafts! It’s hard to find the card with the right message…. The ‘You’re One in a Million!’ card is always accurate?

  6. Haha! I talk to my mom on the phone like that too. Well, let her talk while I listen and continue to do whatever it is that I was doing when she called. She lives next door to me too, if that tells you anything.

    I have never thought about the languages that dogs understand. Makes sense though!! I can only speak English of course, so one would assume..

    Well! I did not know it was Mother’s Day yesterday either. I think I am going to look it as it is in every country and see if I can attempt to have my family celebrate on each of those days! haha Couldn’t hurt right?

  7. I adore this post. I personally have a very tight relationship with my mother, but I tend to have some wish-washy days with my father and other members of my family. I feel the same when it comes down to how I describe my relationship with my family members… it all depends on the day… overall though, my love is strong!! keep writing please(:

  8. I think I would be thoroughly entertained listening to you and your Mom on the subject of canines, felines, ornithurae, mothers and daughters and other various house pets! Hahahaha. 😛

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