Moms, Old and New

There is a blessed optimism to most moms, a lilt to everything they do. I even like their handwriting.

Two birds just had sex right in front of me – mocking birds, ironically.

Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it…

A younger friend says a feeding frenzy is going on among the Millennials as they get vaxed and back on the make.

Evidently, the mocking birds are following their example, one chasing the other under a car, fluttering and flirting, wings this way and that.

The female was the aggressor, as is the norm these days, at least according to the Cardi B songs I use as romantic reference points.

Look, I never met a weekend I didn’t like. I’m about to pour the biggest damn glass of bourbon you ever saw, maybe in a vase, maybe in an upside down bongo drum. Might add the fresh mint that my pal Slavin dropped off, and a pint of simple syrup.

I think that would qualify as one of those mint juleps they serve at the Derby.

And they’re off…

Obviously, I’m a glutton for the weekend, and I want to make this one count, though I’ll be spending much of it on baseball diamonds. Or as I call it: “the jewelry store.”

See what I did there?

Hey, they can’t all be gems.

Wish my mom were still around. She loved puns, while I groaned and rolled my eyes.

Now I laugh at puns too. I am older now than my mother was when I remember her best – 40 to 45, when she was in the midst of raising three kids, her glory days, no doubt, the era when she felt she mattered the most…when there was love and mustard in every sandwich.

That’s how I remember her, pressing her fingerprints in the Wonder Bread, laughing at her own silly jokes. She was a French force of nature. Had they given her a gun, France never would’ve lost a war.

She walked the dog in blue heels and vacuumed in pleated skirts. But she was strong as steel.

Mothers: Still the toughest substance known to man.

Been a bad week for strong moms. My friend Anne lost her mother, Lanora, on Thursday, and Verge is now mourning his.

“Your mom’s name is Margo?” I asked him earlier this week.

“Why?” he texted back.

“I wanna get the prayers right.”

Look, there’s been a lot of praying going on lately. God needs a break. Last thing He needs is a bunch of junk mail prayers addressed to RESIDENT. God needs names, details, occupations, hobbies.

So here’s to Margo, who passed this morning. She insisted there be no crying at her funeral, only laughs. And here’s to Lanora and to all the strong moms, the very foundation of a functional society, more important than doctors and journalists, politicians and police.

Hey, if we just listened to our moms a little better, we wouldn’t even need police. We’d barely need laws.

For some reason, while focusing on my friends’ moms, I recalled an ancient little ditty my own mother used to sing:

“Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy, a kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?”

Slurred together, as the Andrews Sisters sang it, it sounded like.

“Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey…

Dogpark Gary told me his mother used to sing “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…”

There is a blessed optimism to most moms, a lilt to everything they do. I even like their handwriting, civilized and elegant, musical and extra loopy.

If everybody were a mom, it’d be a better world.

Then again, what would Shakespeare have written about? More importantly, what would Cardi B sing?

Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy…

Life is pursuit and capture, love and heartbreak, birds chasing birds, bees chasing bees … me chasing fish bowls of freshly minted bourbon.

Now, in a little bungalow on the far west side of America, my lovely and patient pregnant daughter counts down the week or so till her first baby arrives – already 7 pounds, 13 ounces, the doctors estimate.

A perfect nursery awaits. The new pup practices guarding the crib.

“Sleep now,” I urged her the other day, “because for the next 20 years, it’ll be at the mercy of someone you love more than you love yourself.”

Such daddy wisdom.

My older daughter responded that she’d slept till 9:30 the past three days, which I suspect is her body preparing for launch.

Boy or girl? Only the doctors know.

Lefty or righty? Republican or Democrat? I can’t get an answer.

Believer in lost causes? Lover of longshots and super-sized mint juleps?

We can hope so.

The other night, I turned off the kitchen lights and, in that quiet moment of repose, I paused to soak up that feeling you get when you’ve made it through another long day – when you’ve tucked away the leftover rice and wiped down the counters and made sure the dog has water.

I’m a single dad who has learned to appreciate moms more than ever. I’m a single man who realizes the laundry is never done.

And I realize that parenting is never really over. Till it’s finally over.

“So weary with disasters, [so] tugg’d with fortune,” as per Macbeth.

Say a prayer.  

Missed a column? Check out ChrisErskineLA.com for past posts, books, ballcaps, clothing and the coolest gin & tonic glasses around. Thanks for your support.

24 thoughts on “Moms, Old and New

  1. Beautiful column and perfect tribute to moms. My mother used to make me laugh with that ditty too. I had forgotten. Thanks for a precious memory. Like my husband who was widowed 15 years ago and left to be both Dad and Mom to his teen son, you are doing an excellent job! Mr. Moms are a class of Heroes unto themselves. No other men fully appreciate all that mothers do for all of us like you guys. Cheers! You’ve earned that bourbon.

  2. Moms 🥃🍃!
    The first thing I did when I finished this salutary piece was goggle Cardi B(?)
    A rapper married to “Offset”. Who knew?! Clearly you’ve been bunking with a teenage boy! I’m sticking with Ella!

  3. Your first grandchild. A new mom and dad. A new uncle and aunt. Allis better in the world. Bourbon to celebrate. The nectar of the gods. Prayers for you all

  4. Simply beautiful from start to end. Ida still keeps your 100th card on the mantle, fingers crossed for 101. Wishing your daughter an easy birth.

  5. My mother passed away last year in February. She has made me who I am today. She made sure I learned to be a lady, and I still embrace that today. Times have certainly changed, but the little things she told me still stick in my head: never call a boy, ( I can do that now), and when in a negative situation with other girls, walk away and rise above it. Still applicable today with women.
    She was my Dad’s strength, and they were an amazing team. He would be the first to tell you she was the glue that held our family together.
    She was.

  6. Chris – Mark’s mom was stellar. A bright, inquisitive, empathetic woman who was a beacon of light to everyone around her. Together with Art she was magical. She raised great kids as you know. Margo was wonderful. I met Mark when he was a pre-teen and have known his family for over 50 years. The Verge’s are the best of the best.

      1. My Scottish mum had a little verse fir babies, probably me. Roon about, roon about went the wee mussie, up a bit, up a bit into the wee hoose. tthat was your armpit. I always say that to friends babies hoping to make then smile. Wonderful article, moms really are in charge of all of us.

  7. I cried as I read your words, a mixture of happy and sad tears. My mom passed away a couple of months ago at 89, a few months shy of seeing my first grandchild and her great grand daughter born. The ebb and flow of life, the ability to savor the happy moments and cope with the sad ones. Best wishes to your lovely and patient older daughter for an easy delivery and happy, healthy baby. Be prepared grandpa for the rush of emotions when you first hold him/her. I needed a whole kleenex box!

  8. Thank you on behalf of all us moms…you knocked it out of the park:
    Be prepared for the first grandchild to be more than you even thought
    it could be…one of life’s grandest moments

  9. You bookend your missive with Cole Porter and Shakespeare and stack it with tomes of Motherhood, new to come and the ones that have given their lives to their children. I count myself fortunate that I still have my Mother with me , I have been taking care of her since Covid started last year, but the dementia that she was diagnosed with several years back is accelerating at warp speed. I am heartbroken to see my precious Mother fading before my very eyes,this cruelest of all diseases that robs them of their very essence. This once incredibly strong woman that took care of everything, now I must do for her. I am thankful that God has given me this blessing. God love and bless all the Mothers to be, all that are , all that have been there for us. A safe delivery to your beautiful daughter, a new Mother in the making.

  10. You have a way of making our moments and memories even more special than we thought they were, MANY THANKS CHRIS🎈

  11. Get thee to a mommery , which—of course—is heaven. Moms and Spring and Birth: things are looking up, like we all did—to our moms. Can there be any doubt that if moms ran our world it would be in a better place ? A thought for today; and the future…

  12. 🎶
    A you’re adorable
    B you’re so beautiful,
    C you’re a cute-iful of charm….
    D you’re a darling and
    E you’re exciting and
    F you’re a feather in my arms….
    G you look good to me
    H you’re so heavenly
    I you’re the one I idolize….
    J we’re like Jack and Jill
    K you’re so kissable,
    L you’re the love light in my eyes
    M, N, O,P, I could go on all day
    Q,R, S,T, alphabetically speaking,
    you’re okay….
    U make my life complete
    V means you’re very sweet,
    W,X,Y,Z…
    oh it’s fun to wander through the alphabet with youuuuuu
    to tell you what you mean to meeeee….🎶

    And that’s what my sis, my Mom and I always sang on our way to the Griffith Park plunge (yeah, the plunge!) for our swimming lessons during the summer of ’48. Great memories!
    We also sang, ‘You are my sunshine’.

    Chris, you are going to be sucha pushover for this new little one. Better start saving your gas $$, for those treks to the Westside.

  13. Oh, my mom used to sing the You are my sunshine song, too! It still gives me a warm feeling! Prayers for your daughter & her baby, that all goes smoothly! And prayers for all who have lost their mothers, & that we remember their wisdom.

  14. Such a beautiful, touching tribute to moms. My mom, Dolores will be 90 in September…same month my youngest (ok boomer) heads off to college in the sunshine state. Mom also sang A you’re adorable to us. She is quite possibly the kindest human being on the planet. And definitely the Gorilla glue that held us together. Best wishes to your oldest for a smooth delivery and healthy baby. Alexa play You Are So Beautiful by Joe Cocker 😊

  15. Just love this! Especially since my beautiful mother was very ill last month, recovering enough to come home to be with Dad. 90 and 88 years young! Our new “normal ” is a bit different, but we aren’t complaining.
    I sang “You are my sunshine ” to my kids too at bedtime, now I’m singing it to my grandsons….love life’s cycles.
    Congratulations on your grandchild, as our parents say, there is nothing like being a grandparent! Words were never truer.

    Cheers,

    Kim

Leave a Reply to Ashley Cancel reply