(When Kevin high-fived a wall and sprained all the fingers on his right hand, he thought he’d have to take the week off. Then he found this homework assignment his sons had to do. He stole it, told them the dog ate it, and sent it to us.)
Remember that teacher me and my brothers told you about, the one we said we were pretty sure was an alien? She is. She asked our class, a bunch of teenagers, to write something nice about our mothers for Mother’s Day. Who does that? Not anybody that was ever a teenager on this planet, that’s who.
Obviously, she was dropped here after having been hatched and harvested somewhere else in the universe because anyone who’s ever been a teenager knows our code clearly prohibits being nice to parents under penalty of lifetime video game ban. I know you may not remember the code since you and Dad were in the same first grade as dirt, but the code clearly forbids asking a teenager to break the code. Ever. She’s an alien, sure as shootin’. She’s gonna end up in that place you old folks talk about where the weird stuff is. What did you call it, Studio 54?
We weren’t willing to bet they’re all as nice as E.T., so we decided to do the assignment. Whatever you read here, just remember, it’s being done under her dress, I think that’s what it’s called. Truth be told, I told my brothers I’d write it. I mean, seriously, we’re in high school now and if I let them write it, it’ll be all “Dick and Jane” and “See Spot Run.” You and Dad go to all of Keegan and Riley’s football and baseball games, you sure they’re not getting hit in the head more than you’re letting on? They might be able to give you an upgrade on that “I love my Mommy because…” artifact from preschool that you still have on the fridge, but I wouldn’t count on much more. OK, let’s get started.
Well, speaking of homework, you were always pretty good helping with that. Then again, anything beat Dad. We about fell off the couch the day me and my brothers were watching “A Few Good Men” and Jack Nicholson yells “You can’t handle the truth!” Scary flashback to when Dad would get all flustered and scream “You can’t handle coloring inside the lines!” or “You can’t handle capital letters!” We learned how to tell time before all the other kids just so we’d know how long we had to wait for you to get home. And you’re still good with the homework, staying up past midnight, making me teach you algebra so you knew I knew, swearing you were still awake when those little drool pools on the kitchen table said otherwise. (By the way, Dad’s not lying, you do kinda snore a little, but it‘s kind of cute.)
Let’s see, what else? Promise me you’ll burn this when you’re done reading it, OK? I do kind of miss those years when we all rode to school together and we’d sing along to your radio station. Then, we’d be with Dad, one of those songs would come on, we’d all start singing and he’d start saying disco was coming back from the dead to ruin his life all over again. Remember how mad he got when we told him the only classic rock anyone cared about was Stonehenge?
I’ll always remember your tears, but then again, that’s like Noah saying he’ll always remember the rain. I know it’s not your fault the good Lord replaced your tear ducts with tiny fire hydrants, but seriously, Mom, you cried last night when I went to 7-11 for a Slurpee. (By the way, Dad’s already bought flood insurance for when I leave for college in the fall, so you’re good to pour when the time comes.)
And then there’s the other tears, the good ones. The ones that come when you start laughing about the silliest little thing and can’t stop. Then we all start laughing with you and when we finally stop, no one can remember why we were laughing. Those aren’t some of our brightest moments. Just some of our best.
I’m pretty sure the assignment calls for thanking you for putting up with us. One woman in a house of four boys. And, yes, Dad is a boy, too. (Have you noticed how he started matching his tennis shoes to his basketball shorts and T-shirts? Wasn’t that “Benjamin Button” movie fiction? You really need to have a word with him.)
Two quick things before I go. First, as you can see, this homework is late. I’m gonna tell the alien that Dad was helping us, that always buys us a couple of extra days. Just have your story straight if she starts asking around.
Second, you really are the best mom in the universe, and remember, that includes the alien. I’d tell you that more often, but it’s this darned teenager code. There’s no exceptions whatsoever for parental affection. Ask your friends, they’ll tell you. Girlfriends, yes. Moms, no. I promise, as soon as I hit 20, I’ll tell you all the time. I should be in my third year of college then. Who knows, you might even have stopped crying by then. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom, we love you. Now, go get the lighter.
— Tyler (your oldest, brightest, best-looking, whatever works for you)
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Kevin says the boys have been on their best behavior lately. He thinks they know he made a copy of the letter. He can be reached at physical therapy at LIFEisHEALD.blogspot.com or LIFEisHEALD@yahoo.com.