Which is why, until now, I used to to feel a bit guilty every Mother's Day.
I mean, I don't cook anymore. John does. I apparently cooked up a storm when Daniel was little, because I remember John saying after many a supper something about the kitchen looking like a tornado had gone through it...
But these days if John's not cooking, and it's my turn to "cook", Daniel has his choice of pizza or pizza. Or deli chicken. Or frozen lasagna. Or cereal.
And, lately, I just haven't been in the mood to do laundry. John does it.
Granted, I do vacuum...on occasion. And I dust...now and then.
"And you mow the lawn! Give yourself a little credit!" a friend reently suggested.
Yeah, except for days like yesterday when I bribed Daniel's buddy, Austin, with the promise of homemade chocolate chip cookies -- and some cold hard cash -- if he would please mow the lawn for me. With his rider. See, Daniel was working at The Fro, John was helping a friend varnish his wood floors, and frankly, I decided I am just too damn old and arthritic anymore to push even a self-propelled mower.
"But see! You baked cookies! That is definitely something June would do!" my friend continued.
Welllll, not really, I confessed. The cookie dough was ready-made and I merely scooped little balls of it outta the plastic tub, plopped them on a cookie sheet, and shoved said cookie sheet in the oven.
"But you did that in your kitchen, in your home, so the cookies were, for all intents and purposes, home made," my ever-encouraging friend suggested.
True, but there was that one batch that I burned to a crisp because I was too busy Facebooking and did not hear the timer go off at the 10 minute mark, I whined. June would NEVER have not heard the timer...nor would June allow herself to be consumed by Facebook and YouTube.
"True, but June was more than likely a closet drinker," my friend interjected. "Any woman who wore pearls, dress and heels every day while polishing the chrome on her stove HAD to be throwing back a highball or two on the sly."
Perhaps. And, I must say, I DO make a mean frozen lasagna...
It's just that I was always haunted by that 60s advertising jingle, "Nothin' says lovin' like somethin' from the oven, blah, blah, blah." And if all that is comin' outta my oven is burnt cookies and frozen lasagna...what kinda lovin' is THAT?
"Well, obviously, if they make and sell cookie dough-in-a tub and frozen lasagna, you ain't the ONLY non-June Cleaver type in the world, my dear," my friend offered. "Do Daniel and John complain?"
Um, no....to the contrary, they complain when I cook for real, I replied. Like that night I attempted spaghetti and the tomato sauce boiled over on the stove, and the garlic toast came out a tad charred...
"I rest my case," my friend said.
But June LOVED housework! I LOATHE it.
"Oh, forget June," my friend finally said, in exasperation. "I know what your writing mentor the late, great Erma Bombeck, would say this very minute if she heard you lamenting about your, shall I say, lack of zeal for cooking and housework: 'My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?' "
In fact, come to think of it, it was Erma, writing about cooking, who once said that she used to feel guilty "just adding water."
That Erma! She truly had it goin' on! My friend was right. That June Cleaver was an overachieving housework drone.
And with that, the annual June Cleaver Mother's Day Cloud of Guilt dissipated.
"Happy Mother's Day, Mom!" Daniel just shouted, from the couch (since he can't find his bed for all the clothes and what-have-you strewn about his room). "Can I fix you a bowl of cereal?"
Ah! A chip off the ol' anti-June Mom block!
Erma would be proud...