Happy Mom’s Day!

Reader's Digest International - - My Life - BY ANNE ROUMANOFF

YOU’RE FILLED WITH won­der at this baby that will change your life for­ever. Again and again you say the things all moms say: “Don’t eat the sand!”; “Yes, your draw­ing’s very beau­ti­ful. What’s it meant to be?”; “You’ve had enough French fries!” Mothers talk about them­selves in the third per­son.

A cho­co­late pas­try and your child’s face lights up. You’ll re­al­ize later that it’s much eas­ier to make a child happy when it’s very young. The tod­dler en­coun­ters the rough and tum­ble of the world. They fall, they cry, you dry their tears as best you can. Then comes the time when he or she shouts at you. The teenager says, “I’m go­ing out,” and you’re fear­ful they won’t come home again. You worry about al­co­hol, youth­ful love af­fairs. They re­as­sure you, “But Mom, I don’t drink much at all … com­pared to my friends.”

One day, the grown-up child leaves home. You pre­tend to be glad to have less laun­dry to do. “See you, Mommy dear …” You ea­gerly await their phone calls, emails, texts, any lit­tle sign of af­fec­tion that they deign to send. When there are long gaps, you don’t hold it against them, they’re so busy. Some­times you com­plain, “You only call us when you want a fa­vor.” But you’re so happy to feel use­ful again.

Happy Mother’s Day to tire­some moms, tired moms, over­bear­ing moms, ab­sent moms, moms who weep, moms who make us weep, moms who take them­selves too se­ri­ously, and those who don’t take any­thing se­ri­ously enough. Happy Mother’s Day to moms who spruce them­selves up and those who don’t, to those who give with­out count­ing the cost and those you can count on. Happy Mother’s Day to all moms. I know now that you shouldn’t feel guilty; you’ve done the best you could.

ANNE ROUMANOFF is a well­known French hu­morist.

She lives in Paris.

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