I haven’t written much or on any kind of schedule for one reason only. May. People warn you about December. No one warns you about May. If you are under 35 and unaware of May and all its tomfoolery and chaos, consider yourself warned. It won’t help you, but at least you were warned. I got married in May, which was a great idea until I was a mother (Mother’s Day), had a son born May 20 (birthday parties), and kids in school (all stupid end-of-year activities and projects and exams everywhere multiplied exponentially by your number of children).
The kids get on me all the time about Buttercup. Why do you like her so much? Why do you give us such a hard time? Why is she your favorite? Sometimes I wave my hand at them dismissively. Oh, kids. She’s not my favorite. But you know what? It’s May. And maybe in May, they deserve to know the truth. You wanna know why Buttercup is my favorite?
Because Buttercup’s version of a crisis is finding just the right scent in a square foot of grass that will then become her toilet.
And because Buttercup can’t text.
Buttercup has never texted me in the middle of a busy morning and said, “I’m not allowed to wear my sweater. Can you pick me up early. I need a diff shirt.” That one came in at 9 a.m. May 16 and was regarding the concert attire for Lucy’s orchestra concert. The concert was that afternoon at 5—on the same afternoon that Jenna also had her play. Of course I wasn’t going to take her out of school early to go shopping. So I did what any other non-self-respecting parent would have done. I drove all over town and bought 11 white shirts of varying styles for my daughter to choose from when she got home that afternoon. I’m still navigating the returns. Ironically, she chose a shirt from my closet that I’ve owned for well over a year. But if I had not gone shopping and had instead suggested that pre-owned, middle-aged-mom shirt, she would have gone Exorcist baby on me. Or something like that.
5 hours passed that day, without 5 minutes of down time, when I received another text, this time from Brady. It began with ‘also,’ even though it didn’t seem to go with a previous statement.
“Also can you get a really long sheet of paper”
No punctuation. Nobody cares.
“What is this and when is it due?”
I responded with punctuation.
“Like the next 5 minutes?”
“No tomorrow,” he responded again with no commas. He didn’t get the tone I intended in my initial response. He thought maybe since I assumed it was due in 5 minutes, I’d be relieved it wasn’t due until tomorrow.
The problem was, I still had a child to dress and deliver to a play performance I wouldn’t even get to see, due to May, and a child who was going to be topless at her orchestra performance if we couldn’t settle on a shirt. Both children had to be dropped to their schools within 30 minutes of each other. Now I had an errand to the local art supply store for 10 feet of black paper, with which he would fashion a road to be used in a Romeo and Juliet scene. It was part of his final exam.
I went and got the paper. Because I’m spineless. And then I loaned him $5, which is totally unrelated except for the bad parenting it represented.
The day marched on. It took mom, dad, grandparents, and a friend to coordinate the complications of dropping off and picking up at the same times at two schools. Eventually, we were settled at the event itself. I sat on wooden bleachers, twisted into a position that reminded me of sitting for my senior portraits. And we essentially survived both performances. I even caught the end of the play after the concert, which I would get to see in full the following night.
The next morning, Brady texted me early, before his day officially started.
“Apparently I forgot the road all together but it’s not a
Not to you. You didn’t bust your hump buying it yesterday.
My finger hovered over my keyboard. I wondered what my next statement should be, when I saw the three little moving dots indicating that he was texting me again.
“I’m sorry I made you buy it.”
Well, okay. All was forgiven. But I still had 12 days of May to get through. And there was still a popcorn machine to move. And two large functions to set up for and pretend to host. And a lot of school left to do.
In the middle of all the insanity, there were tears, lost homework assignments ignored homework assignments, exams studied for, exams not studied for, grades deserved, and grades undeserved.
But not with Buttercup.
And not from Buttercup.
Life with Buttercup went on as normal. Even in May. She followed me around pleasantly, gazed into my eyes lovingly, and settled warmly into my side whenever and wherever I parked myself.
So if questioned by indignant, offended parties, especially if questioned in the month of May, I will readily admit to loving Buttercup in overage. And I will present a solid and pertinent defense for myself. And my dog. And for our survivalist coping mechanisms.
But as much as love my dog and as much as I appreciate her appreciation, I think there’s one thing I love more than Buttercup.