I’m sorry to say that it’s not quite a happy one.
Tomato hated Mother’s Day.
Every year in class, without fail, he’d hear stories from
the other foals about how wonderful their mothers were. This year was no
different, being the exact same activities of making Mother’s Day cards or
paper flowers or chore coupons. All the foals happily did the crafts, gushing
about how their moms were going to love their artwork, while Tomato sat in the
corner, just writing out the chore coupons that he knew were going to be abused
and paired with a guilt trip.
He wished he was artistic enough to make a card or a paper
flower—that way, he wouldn’t have to expend precious energy cleaning the house
so that it fit Mom’s standard of cleanliness. And knowing how fussy Mom was,
she’d always find something he did wrong and rag on about it.
Didn’t help that these days he was more easily exhausted,
even more so than a nine-year-old should be on a normal day. All he wanted to
do was just sleep.
Sleep and sleep… and perhaps never wake up.
He looked up from his corner, as the teacher announced, “All
right, class! Stop working on your projects for a moment, and each of you tell
me what you love most about your mothers.”
There was a moment of silence, and then a filly raised her hoof.
When pointed to, she squeaked, “Well… when I’m sad, she wipes my tears and
gives me a hug and tells me that it’s okay to be sad and that we all need to
cry. She says it makes the happiness better.”
Tomato, I’m disappointed
in the way you cried at school today. I expected you to keep your emotions in
check like a stallion… but then you had to revert back into a newborn foal, and
you paid the price when all the others laughed at you.
Another filly raised her hoof. “Mommy helps me with my
Tomato, why are your
grades slipping? You’ve had an A before, and now it’s down to B! I expect to
see you study harder in the future, because I don’t want another son falling
A pegasus colt bounced in his seat and then hovered. “She
watches me do awesome tricks and cheers for me!”
Tomato… what is that… ‘thing’
you’re doing? That’s not normal, don’t do it again! How embarrassing it would be to have a son of mine be a freak.
Another colt jumped up. “I scraped my knee last week, and she
wrapped it up and kissed it and said it’ll get better. She… told me to be more
careful next time.”
I swear, my hair’s
going to go gray early from all the times you nearly kill yourself. If you sat
still like your brother, you wouldn’t have this scrape!
“Mine reads me bedtime stories!”
“Mine makes the yummiest dinners.”
“Mine taught me how to bake cookies!”
“Cookies? Pfft, that’s nothing, mine taught me how to fly!”
“She tells my brother not to hit me.”
“She trusts me to look after the house!”
Tomato felt sick to his stomach upon hearing those. For
every positive thing that was said about mothers, he only got a negative image
of his own home life. Someone describes their mother’s smile, he imagines his
own frowning. For every encouragement that he heard of, he imagined the
scolding he’d receive for slipping up. And for every kiss on the cheek, or hug,
or even a little boop of the nose, he only imagined being pulled by the ear, or
that one time he was spanked for naughtiness.
All those positive things about their mothers that they said—he
associated them with his grandparents and older brother. And they were gone,
the latter being Tomato’s fault.
And then there was Bluejinx. While the unicorn was Tomato’s
best, most loyal, and only friend, his speech about his mother always enraged
him. Tomato memorized the story.
When Bluejinx’s father died, his mother, Violet Verses, had
to raise Bluejinx on her own. Technically, there was also his grandma, but Violet
was still stretched thin. She took a job to support him, with long hours and
late nights that left her tired. She tries to be there for parent-teacher
conferences. She taught him how to use telekinesis. She made sure he ate
healthily, that he stayed out of as much trouble as possible, and she taught
him to be kind to others and to be careful who he befriended. And if it didn’t
get through his head the first time, Grandma was there to reinforce it.
Bluejinx told the story, and ended it with, “… I guess I can’t
choose a favorite thing about Mom. I love all of her.”
The teacher nodded, and then turned to Tomato. “And what do
you love most about your mother,
All eyes were on him. Tomato just stared back at the
teacher, who awaited his answer, with wide eyes and a slightly trembling lip. He
couldn’t choose either, but for an entirely different reason than Bluejinx. For
him, there was just so little to choose from, and he had to work too hard just
to get his mother to smile at him. All he could do to keep pleasing her was
just keep up the grades so that he didn’t fall behind…
…like his brother.
He probably could say that he’s happy that she doesn’t hit
him, aside from that one spanking that he probably deserved. But why did he
still feel hurt? Why did he feel like crying?
He squeezed his eyes shut, reminding himself that big colts
didn’t cry. After a deep breath and a few moments of silence, he finally
thought of something.
“Well… she says I have… potential…”
The teacher smiled. “That is absolutely true! You do have
potential with that brilliant mind of yours. Glad to know that you all have
such wonderful and encouraging mothers.”
Tomato heard snickers from another group of desks, and he
caught the word, “Nerd.”
That insult was getting old, so he opted to ignore them and
continue working on the chore coupons. Oh, how he hated those chore coupons.