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So what is a newyorksubalien...

I’m a New York subalien. Don’t get me wrong, I’m perfectly legal – it’s just my loving other half, official alien that he is, comes with a so-called “supermodel” visa that apparently denotes him as one possessing extraordinary abilities (falling asleep within 5 minutes of sitting down in front of the TV, remembering only 2 of the 3 items on a mental shopping list and not knowing where the dishwasher tablets live after 2 years in our apartment are just some of his many talents).

The same visa leaves me extraordinarily unable to possess that most American of entities - a “social” i.e. a Social Security Number. Calling it a “social” makes it sound like the password to some party-filled, fun-packed lifestyle. That’s not far wrong as without these all-important 9 numbers, you pretty much can’t have a lifestyle at all - no bank account, no credit card, not even a driver’s license.

So what does a subalien do? Well, like over sub life forms waiting for evolution to give them a leg up on the ladder of existence, I have plenty of time to observe and these, dear reader, are my observations…..

Monday, May 9, 2011

Trying to keep mum about Mom's Day

Yesterday the Subalien family observed their traditional annual abstinence from that quintessential Big Apple tradition – Sunday brunch. Given brunch here seems sometimes to cover all forms of restaurant eating from 10 am to 5 pm this was a big sacrifice in our household. But it was Mother’s Day in our new planet and, as a result, the most popular day of the year for Americans to dine out according to the National Restaurant Association. Think Valentine’s Day but with crying two-year olds at every table.

I had actually been trying to hide the fact from the offspring as I'm in the "Mother's Day only matters when you're no longer living with her" camp. I’ve been greatly helped over the years by the fact that it has been celebrated at different times in our various planetary hops. My first few were in Brazil (second Sunday in May) and to be fair, those I did enjoy as Mini-Mum was obviously too small to feel any need to do anything but her Brazilian crèche did. So I am the proud possessor of a number of T-shirts with increasingly larger handprints and verses in Portuguese which I am keeping for posterity.

Back to the UK and a return to the fourth Sunday in Lent. Those years were easy as being Irish (and no longer living with her), Mother’s Day was apparently obviously designed as a day of celebration for my mother. Need I say more.

Then to France and a switch to the last Sunday in May. There they truly celebrate mothers – so much so they actually give out medals at local town halls for their (literal) contribution to society. The “Medaille de la Famille Française” dates back to 1920 when the award was created to help rebuild the population after the 1914-18 World War. Like all good medal ceremonies, there’s a bronze, silver and gold. Bronze for four or five children, silver for six or seven and the gold for those courageous mothers who have brought up eight or more little darlings (in the nomination form, they leave space to put in the details of up to 15 children).

Those still working their way towards such dizzy heights can all the same expect flowers, perfume and lingerie (after all, this is France). The last year we were there, a huge billboard campaign suggested that if you really wanted to spoil her, the ultimate gift would be a one-cup espresso coffee machine. Just what you need when going for that gold medal - something to keep you awake.

Now we’ve come full circle and we’re back to the second Sunday in May. Here they don’t give out medals but the President does issue a special proclamation. The cards abound and the restaurants have their special “Mom’s Day Brunch” menus on show weeks beforehand. But as the alienettes are past the kindergarten-present-producing-factory stage, I am usually confident the event will pass my little darlings by.

This year I was helped by the fact Superalien’s and Male Mini-Me’s UK football team was playing a crucial match that day and so they were dispatched to the local Irish pub to drink Irish tea (honest) and have an Ulster fry. But they returned, bearing gifts and out came the handmade cards, worked away on in secret. Mini-Mum’s was a work of art and a message to break your heart; Male Mini-me’s had a biology textbook picture of aforementioned blood-pumping organ and the following greeting inside -

Hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day
PS Most hearts drawn on cards are inaccurate so here is an accurate one

Between the two of them, I think they got it covered.

Creative Commons License by Caroline Eagles is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.