Mother, May I?

Sunnyby Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown 


Call me old fashioned, but in this day and age of playing online games with people you don’t really know, I still prefer playing the family games I grew up with; board games, card games, backyard games, I like them all. But there is one childhood game in particular that I loved—It was Mother, May I?, where you had to ask the caller or (“Mother”) permission before you could do the task that you were told to perform. If you failed to ask, “Mother, may I?” you had to go back. I played this all the time with my brothers and cousins and neighbors, and later on with my kids when they were little. I naively hoped it might convince them to ask my permission before they ever did anything questionable. LOL. However, I guess the game chips don’t fall far from the kitchen table, because my kids enjoy playing games, too, especially with me.

Each Mother’s Day, my kids would conspiratorially tell me that they would let me sleep in on Mother’s Day morning. It was a mandate, really. I knew, of course, that they wanted to bring me breakfast in bed, and I willingly played along with the game. It was while lying awake in bed one Mother’s Day morning that the lengths to which they would go to play games with me became all too clear to me.

I would be awakened on Mother’s Day morning by the crashing sounds of pots and pans banging around in the kitchen, and for the next hour, I would pretend to be asleep. Finally, I would hear them whispering and giggling and expected them to come “surprise” me at any minute. But after the next hour, still lying there wide-awake, delirious from the smell of bacon and coffee and cinnamon rolls, it began to dawn on me their real intention, and it was not, I fear, just to let me know they were thinking of me by letting me sleep in.

I called my mom to tell her happy mother’s day and to let her know that I knew what the kids were planning for me for Mother’s Day: They were going to starve me to death. Either that or they were not, in fact, thinking of me at all and had completely forgotten about me. After I hung up, feeling faint and weak in the knees, I made a lot of noise getting up to go to the bathroom and finally they came bouncing in with a cold breakfast of coffee, hard eggs, and dry toast. They had eaten all of the cinnamon rolls “waiting on me to wake up.”

But this particular Mother’s Day I had a better idea. I figured that there should be some sort of payoff for all that waiting, besides cold toast and KP duty. I know that motherhood is all about serving time for hard labor, but I figured that for the time already served, I should be served my favorite cocktail on all the Mother’s Days to come. Since they were going to be hanging around all year long, the kids might as well go ahead and learn how to make my favorite drink, especially since they are the reason I drink. I was certain that all that measuring would make learning math so much more fun. And besides, I think it is a mother’s duty to make sure her children don’t step out into the world without a skill. Or they might come back. It seems that just when you finally start to get it all figured out, they pack up and leave for college, and their own lives, vowing never to move back home. They always do get your hopes up, don’t they?

On every Mother’s Day since, my mom calls me and reminds me to put a granola bar in my bedside table. Except this year—I am sad to say that this Mother’s Day is the first one that I will not have either of my kids at home. To make matters worse, I will be leaving a few days later to attend my son’s college graduation. These are the trickiest games they have played on me yet. This just cannot be true. They did not ask me, “Mother, may I grow up so fast?” I simply would not have allowed it. I would have said they had to go back to those long summer days of us playing in the sandbox or picnicking in the park. Before they asked if they could take those steps into adulthood, I would have said, “No, you may not.” Motherhood is a lifetime sentence and one I am honored to serve. Who is going to serve me my drink while rolling their eyes? I really do need one now.

Time plays the biggest mind games of all. I would like to have it all back. Mother Nature, may I?

Cheers to my mom, my children, my mother-in-law, and all the moms out there!

P.S. I want to thank my darling daughter for giving me permission to use her photo. If you want to see how she really feels about it you can see an outtake on my website at

One Response to “Mother, May I?”

  1. Sunny Brown says:

    Just wanted to let everybody know that I have now uploaded the out takes to my website. Sorry for the delay.

    Also a Disclaimer: No minors, or, more importantly, no martinis, were harmed in the making of these photos. ~Sunny:) xo

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