Intersections – Don’t Promise Me a Rose Garden
By Nicki Salcedo, contributor
On the Sunday morning of Mother’s Day, I exited the house quietly before anyone woke up. My family knows me very well. I’m an early riser. They sleep in. I get my writing done before most people roll over in their beds. That’s what I wanted for Mother’s Day.
I don’t need presents. I don’t expect store-bought cards. I like flowers only if they can be planted in the garden. I don’t want chocolate or fancy shoes. I left the house on Mother’s Day to do something for myself.
When I returned my husband asked me, “How was the Goat?”
I hadn’t gone to the coffee shop though I can sometimes be found writing there between 7 o’clock in the morning and the time the line starts to curve. As soon as a crowd shows up, I leave. Sometimes that’s 9 am. Sometimes that’s later like when it rains. I’m a creature of habit, but not predictability.
For Mother’s Day, I wanted a few hours to write, but when I woke up I wanted something else. Instead of going to the coffee shop, I indulged in another guilty pleasure – grocery shopping. I went to the Big A$$ Kroger and bought a few items:
– Heavy Cream
– Shitake Mushrooms
– Waffle Iron
The grocery store was filled with people at 7 a.m. All men and small children. It was like a horror movie where all the women on the planet are gone. There was not a female shopper in sight. As I walked toward the super amazing cheese section, several employees greeted me with “Happy Mother’s Day!”
Each time I replied “Happy Mother’s Day!” It was nice to say that to a man wearing an apron and sorting the shitake mushrooms.
I’ve lived my whole life without being in a grocery store at 7 a.m. on Mother’s Day. And I’ve been in the grocery store on just about every other day of the year and at every other hour of the day, 2 a.m. or 11 p.m. This includes Thanksgiving and Christmas. I know the shopping habits of people pretty well. I enjoy being at the grocery store. People are nice to me. I get marriage proposals, and I like the possibility of all the things I can eat and cook.
I adore the cheese section. There are two people behind the cheese counter. They can tell you all the things you want to know about cheese. If I’m ever feeling sad, you might find me there.
I love all kinds of cheese. Mimolette. Moses Sleeper. Manchego. I like stinky cheese and soft cheese and hard cheese and the cheese where I debate whether to eat the rind. I can’t always eat the rind. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I don’t.
On Mother’s Day, I bought a block of cheese, unsmoked Gouda, because it was recommended by the cheese expert and because it tasted wonderful. I like buying presents for myself.
When I got home, I felt unusually happy. I began to make breakfast. I had something specific in mind. I wanted to make a quiche that was like a delicate soufflé. I wanted homemade waffles, but my waffle iron had died a month ago. It was 22 years old. My first thought was, “I get a waffle iron for Mother’s Day!” But when I mentioned this to my family, they shook their heads at me.
“We can’t get you a waffle iron. That’s like giving you a vacuum cleaner for your birthday.”
Well, we also needed a new vacuum cleaner. We’ve needed a new vacuum cleaner since last year. I’m mad at Mother’s Day for being a day when I can’t get a waffle iron or a vacuum cleaner. A day when men are trying to buy last minute flowers. For what? I don’t like greeting cards. I like homemade cards with misspelled words that are given to me on a Wednesday in March for no good reason. I like scavenger hunts with clues that rhyme. I like kids giggling as I try to solve the puzzle. I also like waffle irons so I bought one for myself. And my family.
I like breakfast at the table, not in bed. I like to hear the sound of kids arguing about not wanting to set the table and who gets to do the dishes. I like tears when it is time to do laundry. I like soccer games scheduled on Sunday, on Mother’s Day, an hour away from home at 6 o’clock in the evening. By then, I’ve already been up and mothering for 12 hours. Just like every other day of the week.
The soccer coach gave scarves to all of the moms and the girls shouted “Happy Mother’s Day!” as part of their pre-match warmup. I still felt full from the quiche and waffles. My new waffle iron flips over. I can cook with extra pizazz. I don’t want flowers. Don’t promise me a rose garden on only one day of the year. I don’t need anything, not cards or perfumes or even “I love you.” Because I already know.
“Intersections,” the book, is a collection of columns from Decaturish.com and beyond. It is now available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Nicki Salcedo is a Decatur resident and Atlanta native. She is a novelist, blogger, and a working mom. Her column, Intersections, runs every Wednesday morning.