, Newburyport, MA


June 15, 2011

The Mother Load: A farewell to columns


"Better Luck Next Yuletide" related how, after 17 tries at taking a family holiday photo, we settled for the only one in which nobody's head was cut off and no one had a finger up her nose.

"Take a Hike — But Don't Invite Me" told of my ill-considered remark to my husband that hiking Mt. Washington someday might be fun. ("Someday," in this case, had meant "perhaps with your next wife.") The 8- and 12-year-olds had no problem with the hike; I, however, slipped in a stream bed, soaking my pants and giving new meaning to my role in "holding up the rear."

"How I Learned to Cook in the Outback" confessed how, between driving one child from piano lessons to gymnastics and taking the other from softball practice to a basketball banquet, I once put together a salad while in line at the Dunkin' Donuts drive-thru.

"And I Say to Myself, What a Wireless World" told of my children's talent for calling my cell phone at inappropriate moments like during church services, the playing of the national anthem, or when I'm trying on bathing suits at the Gap. (After whispering, "Mommy can't talk right now because I have no clothes on," there was a pause before the 9-year-old asked, "Where did you say you were?")

"Prom Night II —The Horror Continues" detailed my education in the many requirements and lingo of modern prom, including tanning, limos, and "mani-pedis" — a term that always sounded like it could lead to doing hard time in the big house.

"Guess Who Came to Dinner?" told of our older child's first visit home from college, during which she was cheerful, chatted with her parents and raced upstairs to do laundry. I was forced to approach her with a fireplace iron, demanding, "Who are you, and what have you done with my daughter?"

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