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That’s how I spell mother

Today began like most, with robust coffee in a vintage VIP’s mug (anyone remember?) and an unfolded Mail Tribune spread before me.

I wasn’t fully awake when I noticed a headline about a Tongan woman giving birth on an airplane, though unaware she was pregnant. Now, you’ll need to bear with me here. I had to stare out the window at the trees for several contemplative moments to let that hit on all cognitive cylinders. I began thinking about mothers in general.

My mother, Wilma Wave Compton Dover, was beautiful, intelligent and loved her family above all else. She had the common sense to know when she was expecting and dressed appropriately. Plus, she smelled good. As a child, I adored taking naps on her bed because her pillow always smelled like the fragrant sachets she dabbed on her neck and temples.

I felt proud when she walked to my school for PTA meetings or bake sales — she didn’t drive. She was pretty, and Mama always wore a dress and a smile. The only fault I can find in her is that she was too easy on us kids and defended us when we didn’t deserve defending. Though I know we frustrated her, she was our mama bear. I wish I could have picked up the phone today and heard her laugh at these ridiculous stories.

So, back to the inane. I’ve heard similar reports of oblivious women giving birth, and here was yet another. I mean, how out-of-touch can a person be? Pregnancy comes with some fairly obvious clues after all. Like KFC cravings.

Reporter Caleb Jones quoted her. “I just didn’t know I was pregnant, and then this guy just came out of nowhere.” This guy? Nowhere? I hope she was at least flying business class. As if that weren’t fantastic enough for you on a Sunday, there just happened to be a family medicine physician and three neonatal intensive care unit nurses on board to help with the early delivery. Someone knew.

I wondered what the other passengers were doing meanwhile. Maybe ordering drinks while assessing the odds. Hopefully not videotaping anything. I want to interview her startled seatmates. Still shaking my head. Then ...

A couple pages in, another headline slammed my still-reeling brain. “Woman from Mali gives birth to nine babies.” I went for a coffee refill. Five girls and four boys — a co-ed softball team — all at once. Are they sure she wasn’t a Labrador retriever? The babes and their beleaguered mother are reportedly doing well, though just wait until they all hit puberty at three to the second power.

These stories give evidence for the existence of other dimensions, which sometimes interface with our own. The mothers obviously live in different time zones than I. Also, no fathers are mentioned, though you know they’re passed out somewhere.

Strange stories pluck the parody string in my soul, and these are no exceptions. For your listening pleasure, here is my version of the 1915 hit, “M-O-T-H-E-R,” by Howard Johnson (no, not that one) and Theodore Morse.

For surprised mother:

M is for your midflight complication.

O is for your neighbors’ oxygen (mask).

T is for the test kits in your future.

H is for how did you miss the clues?

E is for excitement in the cabin.

R is for one rock shy of a load.

Put them all together, they spell mother?

Your “guy from out of nowhere” stole the show.

For overachiever mother:

M is for the many diapers looming.

O is for one hecka overload

T is for nine times the terrible two-ing

H is for nine highchairs in a row

E is for your earnings far too puny

R is for reflecting on your fate

Put them all together, they spell HELP ME!

Nine wee babes will overflow your plate.

Happy Mother’s Day, all you incredible, sacrificial women! That includes countless women who may not be moms (or are, but remain clueless), and fight for the children — teachers, medical personnel and children’s advocates.

Peggy Dover is mama bear to Emily, and is a freelance writer. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.