A Mother to Embarrass Me

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Authors: Carol Lynch Williams
park and climbed out, Elmo slippers and all, to get a closer look. The lunch crowd had gathered on the lawn, waiting for a table inside.
    I stared out my window so no one would see that I was with the pregnant Elmo lady. “Mom.” I breathed the word and a bit of steam touched the glass. I would have rested my head, but my injury hurt still. I hoped I wasn't permanently damaged.
    Mom climbed back into the car. She was huffing a little. “I used to be in such good shape,” she said. “Now I can hardly walk and bend over without getting out of breath.”
    “Hmim,” I said. I tried to make it appear that I was not ignoring my mother.
    Mom touched me on the arm. “Laurie, honey,” she said. “Listen. Christian is a good boy. And he's just right for you. Quinn is… he's too old.”
    “No more lectures, Mom,” I said. “Please. You're going to be late.” I nodded at the little quartz clock, and she shifted into gear and drove us straight to Dr. MacArthur's office.
    I went in for Mom's checkup so I could hear the baby's heartbeat.
    “Urine specimen,” the nurse said once we were in the checkup room. “Here's your cup.” She handed Mom a small Dixie cup.
    “For me?” Mom said. “Well, maybe I'm a little thirsty.” She faked like she was taking a sip of something, then made a face.
    “Gross, Mom,” I said. I looked at the nurse, who was grinning her head off.
It's not that funny
, I thought, but I didn't say anything.
    “Go do your thing, Jimmey,” the nurse said.
    “Yeah, Mom.” I was mumbling.
    “Time to go pee-pee,” Mom said.
    “Thanks for the news flash,” I said. I looked toward a large poster of a huge, naked pregnant woman. You would think peeing in a cup would be a private thing, but even the naked poster woman watched us. Mom waddled into the bathroom, and I waited where her blood pressure would be checked as well as her Dixie cup of surprises.
    “Everyone pees here,” the nurse said. She smiled at me. “I bet even you do.”
    “Well, yeah,” I said. I felt my face turn red. “Sometimes.”
    Mom came back in the room and presented the cup like it was a gift. “Here you go, Kathy,” she said.
    “Hop on the scale.”
    Mom did.
    Kathy, the nurse, moved the weights on the scale. “One fifty-three,” she said after a moment.
    Mom gave a groan. “I hope it's all baby. A thirty-five-pound baby.”
    “Blood pressure,” Kathy said. And then, “You
are
going on eight months pregnant. This is when the baby puts on all its weight.”
    “Her
weight,” I said. “The baby's a girl, huh, Mom?” I climbed up on the scale after Mom sat down at a small table, and began adjusting things to find out how much I weighed. The nurse started working to find Mom's blood pressure.
    “Whoa,” said the nurse. “It's getting up there, Jimmey.”
    “What do you mean?” Mom's voice sounded funny. I turned and looked at her.
    “Let me check again,” the nurse said, and pumped up the black band around Mom's arm.
    “One sixty over ninety-two,” she said, like she was thinking. “Dr. MacArthur can talk to youabout this,” Kathy said, and hustled Mom into an examination room.
    things to change about M Y MOTH ER!!!!!!!
26. public pee-pee
27. saying “let's boogie”—perhaps this word can be stricken from the world's vocabulary as well.

Mom cried all the way through Provo, then through Springville, and into Mapleton. I patted her hand.
    She didn't joke with me, not even once, but she did run a red light because, she said, she couldn't see through the tears.
    Dad waited for us at home. Mom had just opened the car door when he swept into the garage, scooped her up and carried her inside.
    I followed, listening to them talk. Mom was sobbing now.
    “The doctor said”— Mom gulped air between all the words—“bed rest.”
    “Now, now,” Dad said.
    “Me on bed rest, I don't think I can do it.” Mom looked at me over Dad's shoulder. “Who'll take care of Laurie?”
    “Mom,” I said. “I'm a big

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