Uncontrollable Mothering: Episode #2 in a sporadic series
There are times in a mother’s life when the primal mothering instinct can suddenly take over your mind and body. There is no forewarning and no way to stop yourself. You have no conscious knowledge or control over what you do. This can occur whether your child is small enough to burp over your shoulder–or large enough that you don’t even come up to his shoulder. It can happen whether your child is across the room or across the globe. In fact, uncontrollable mothering can even take over when it’s someone else’s child. Beware. This could happen to you.
I’m standing in the kitchen with Daniel who is waiting for his friend Peter to show up. They’re driving up to a Giants game in San Francisco tonight.
Peter comes in excited to go and gives me a hug. I adore Peter. I adore all of Daniel’s friends. I’m happy to feed them and house them and even clothe them. But they pay a price for this.
I step back and look at Peter.
Me: “You’re wearing flip flops.”
Peter looks at his feet too. Sort of nods.
In my world, that should be enough said to someone going to a nighttime baseball game in San Francisco.
I’m thinking to myself, “Need I say more?” Apparently yes.
Me: “Are you SURE you want to wear flip flops? To a BASEBALL game?”
Peter looks down at his feet again. The flip flops are still there.
This is a particular pet peeve of mine. I’m convinced that exposed toes in crowded places like airports and baseball stadiums are just asking to be mashed by a Sumo wrestler wearing combat boots. I even have proof of this hazard since we know a 5 year old wearing sandals, who was involved in an escalator accident at this very same stadium.
I make this point to Peter. He looks at his feet again. He’s puzzled.
“I always wear flip flops everywhere,” he shrugs.
Probably this includes football games at college. I let it go. I figure wearing flip flops isn’t his riskiest behavior.
I move on. Peter also has no jacket or sweater with him.
Me: “You know it’s a night game.”
He shrugs again.
“It gets cold” .
“I’m fine,” he smiles, hoping this will go away. He steals a glance at Daniel. Daniel’s eating a snack and trying to ignore this conversation.
“It gets cold in Pac Bell Park, ” I warn Peter again.
I momentarily think about the fact that before he moved to California for high school, Peter spent his entire life living in Chicago. I don’t mention this out loud.
I manage to restrain myself from further mothering. I say goodbye and leave them in the kitchen.
A few minutes later, I hear them leaving . As they head for the car, I notice that without any prodding, Daniel had gone upstairs, and is carrying an extra sweatshirt for Peter.