By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Between the soccer practices and the Brownie meetings, sometimes it seems like I'm less mother than chauffeur to my three little pancakes! It's so frustrating I could practically write a whole column about it (I already have a perfect, tender ending in mind, about how I sometimes see poor children with dirty clothes, or I sometimes see children who are dead, and it makes me feel guilty that I ever resented my beautiful little ones, and then I hug them to my aproned bosom and right then and there I decide to cherish their youth), except I did last week, and, apparently, the week before, and my editor has begun taking me aside after our "editorial" meetings—where all the "editorial" types meet and discuss what they'll be writing about (or "covering," in the lingo)—and yelling at me. She uses words that I would never say in front of my own little pancakelets, except once, in the grocery-store parking lot, a woman was so rude—really, unbelievably rude—that I let fly with the "B" word, right in front of the little Butterworths! We had a long discussion that day, as I explained why it is always important for a lady not to lose her temper (sourness is unbecoming in a syrup) and that vulgarity is the hallmark of an uneducated mind. But really, that lady had it coming!
Oh, yes. My editor—a very caring woman—has begun hoping at very high decibels that I might expand my columnist's repertoire, as it were.
Well, there is the Southern California weather, which is very lovely and quite different from the weather in Vermont, where I believe I used to live. Yes, the cold in Vermont makes the syrup clump in your bottle, and I am so happy here, where my syrup can drip and flow. The Southern California weather makes me want to Rollerblade or have a barbecue with my little pancakes —although, of course, I don't mean that they would be dinner!
And that leads me to my true topic today: sometimes I worry.
There are so many things that can happen to pancakes. Perhaps the other children at school will make fun of them for "not belonging." How I remember my own schoolgirl days, when the little flesh children teased and mocked me for having a glass bottle for a body and a hole in my head! It wasn't easy, and oh, how I want to spare my daughters that pain, the pain of being made of dough, when all the other children are made of skin and organs! I remind them every day: dough is "delicious." And being "different" is like being a blanket. Some children are patchwork quilts. Some children are ponchos. Some are made from sealskin by Inuits. But no matter the fabric or what they're called in other "places of origin," everyone needs one!
And then I worry, what if my children develop eating disorders? It makes me so mad I could just write a column about these "fashion designers" who've decreed that "round is bad." That's just their natural shape, and every day I remind them how beautiful they are. Beauty is like a blanket: it hides a bed that is either messy or clean!
Then there is the possibility that they will be teased on the soccer field—and that's a whole column in itself! There is apparently an entirely new phenomenon of "mothers with children who play soccer," in which the competition can be dreadfully fierce, and some of the children are not allowed to play because they are "not talented"! I talk to my girls every day, reminding them . . . well, I can't remember, but it was very inspirational—and inclusive!
And then I worry: What if my little pancakes stop listening to me? What if they decide I'm just "goofy old Mom." Will I be "groovy" enough for them? I tell my girls every day: a mother's love is like a blanket—it is soft and keeps you warm!
And then I worry: What if someone eats my little pancakes up? I am a mother who works, and I just whip myself that I can't be there with my little ones all the time. Something could happen to them, and I would be . . . you guessed it! At work! I tell my girls every day: being a working mother is hard, but a job is like a blanket. It gives you money to buy things.
Sometimes I worry. Is there milk in the refrigerator? Did I remember the cleaning? Will my eldest pancake's prom date try to have sex with her? Will it rain? Will I get my gardening done? Will I run out of worries about which to write? Will I be able to keep my job? Will the poor children get clean clothes? Will I be poor? Will my children be poor? Will they have clean clothes? Will I have clean clothes? If I am poor? Sometimes I look at poor people, with only dirty blankets in which to wrap themselves, and I point them out to my little pancakes. And I tell them CONTINUED