While yesterday was Mother’s Day for most moms out there, it was merely a return trip from Washington for me. Eleven hours in the car, with an hour swallowed by the time difference border between there and here, those empty hours were most torturous. Who wants to spend their special Momma’s day like that anyway? So, we canceled it all together and rescheduled it for another day.
When we were about halfway done with yesterday’s journey, we opted for the small down (middle Oregon) lunch/stretch/potty break- and McDonalds seemed like the obvious choice. (before judgment rains down on me- allow me to explain. In this part of the country, where no one knows what Chick Fil A is, McDonalds offers three chicken sandwiches- complete with whole wheat bun- which are pretty darn close in comparison. The calories are low and, if fast food is nearly necessary- it’s a great choice.)
Anyway, the point of this post is NOT to pat McDonalds (whom I otherwise, can’t stand) on the back… It’s about how, while I skipped the maternal holiday, the rest of the world didn’t… and so, at 12:40 in the afternoon, on mother’s day- I sat psychoanalizing the patrons of said McDonalds, while my family played, ate, stretched and licked ice cream cones. I saw a lot of sad/crazy stuff in there- but there were two situtations I had to mention:
One- There was this woman. Although you’ve likely never met this particular woman, we’ve all seen some version of her. She’s that girl who carries herself as though everywhere she goes is far too good for her. Dressed in a long black skirt, a ratty peace sign t-shirt and a pretend velvet shrug- you just knew that her intention was sincerely to dress her best. She had clipped her hair up in a hair jaw and the expression on her face advertised that she believed she was attending the most special of events. Her husband/boyfriend had taken their little girl into the play area and her two teenage boys had sat at a table to brood in their teenage angst. She held up the line, ordering food carefully. She added prices, removed things from the order and mixed items around sot hat she had enough money to cover this family of five’s meal.
Beaming with continued pride, she brought her teens their small sized cups and they rudely questioned their size, as though it were some form of personal attack on them as men. She gently (and still proudly) replied that refills are free and the cost for larger cups meant someone was going to go without food. She went on to explain how this “special outing” had taken the last $17 that the family would have for nearly two weeks.
My opinion: this woman is a rock star. Seventeen dollars for five people? i don’t care where you are- that’s amazing…
The truly sad thing: Her family obviously doesn’t share my appreciation of her gifts. As we left I saw them, through the glass. Their daughter played and the boys + husband/boyfriend chatted on as though they were incredibly annoyed to be there. She sat beside them, ever radiant at the sheer priviledge of sitting beside them. What really got me, however, was that she had a gash across the butt of her skirt that was several inches big. The family knew about it, the boys were making fun of it as she ordered. While she thought she looked the best she could, and felt beyond blessed to just be with them on her McDonalds mother’s day- they made fun of her behind her back, in a very cruel way.
Two- A man scoots into a corner booth, alone, and sits there. Nearly ten minutes pass and I start to wonder why a grown, foodless, man would just sit in a McDonalds, on the other side of the play area glass… On the other side of the dining room, 2 middle school aged boys from the order counter to the play room. About ten minutes after the man sat down, a woman heads to his table with 4 small cups. (it is unbelievably sad how busy this place was with this being the celebratory dining spot for Mother’s in The Dalles Oregon…)
“dr. pepper” he grunts to her, and she goes to the fountain to fill the four cups obediently. Carefully carying them back to the table, she catches the eye of the two boys and they rush to the table and begin downing their sodas. She heads back to the condement area to fill ketchup cups, grab napkis and salt packets. As she makes her way back to the table she asks in an obviously joking tone “Wait a minute, why I am I the one doing this? It’s Mother’s Day! I should be sitting down. I am sitting the rest of the day!” She gives herself a chuckle and sits. The boys begin to tell her about the play room just as their lunch order number is called. The two boys jump up and head to the counter to get it and the mom smiles gratefully.
“Go help them. They can’t carry all of that, they’ll spill it!” Dutifully, once again, she obeys.
Roughly six, or so, minutes after they had all unwrapped their food, the father/husband says “Don’t forget we need yogurt”, in between bites of his burger.
“Oh” she responds. She wraps the remaining half of her sandwich, in it’s paper and gently puts it in her purse. Pulling out a small pad of paper she begins jotting down the food items that these men in her life tell her, between bites of their own lunches. As their requests filter out, she stands. Without another word from them, and looking incredibly defeated, she heads to her car- and I am assuming the grocery store- to shop while her family sits on their butts in McDonalds.
My opinion: I won’t even get into it. I was so mad. They were sitting right next to us and the whole thing had me seething…
The truly sad thing: It’s all sad. But looking at them, this is the family that boats in the summer. This is the family where the dad golfs. In other words, this is the family where the dad is sure to get what he wants, when he wants it and the mom gets to be the slave with a 6 minute break on Mother’s day.