The Heaven of Motherhood  

Hilary Flanery

© Copyright 2020 by Hilary Flanery


Photo of a raccoon.

St. Julian the Hospitaller!!” I screamed on the Emergency Room table.

Poison ivy, Mrs. Flanigan, all over your perineum.” The doctor explained.

My pair of ‘what’?” I asked holding up the paper examination gown against my body.

Your per-i-ne-um, your pos-te-ri-or end!” he repeated.

Poison ivy—on my ... popo?”

Did I say, popo?    

Yes, on your ‘popo.’” He said, washing his hands.

I mourned the loss of my once, normal existence. “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall receive comfort...and please, Lord, make mine 'Southern'.”

St. Sexburga!” I groaned. “Did my husband give this to me?”

St. Sexburga?” The doctor looked at me like he had never heard of St. Sexburga. “Poison ivy is not a sexually transmitted disease.” He wrote on his tablet. “You said that you're camping at Illinois Beach State Park, right? Have you been in the woods picnicking, hiking?”

Why, yes.” I perked up feeling a good story coming on.

We had come up the day before from humid, St. Louis, Missouri to go camping in cool, Chicago, Illinois on Lake Michigan.

Summer campin’ in Chicago, with its sandy beaches baking in the sun, is the rainbow of swimsuit days. But in the evening, when twilight approaches and you’re out for a stroll under the whispering pines, surrounded by the acorn-scented, pin oaks, the swimsuit days become sweatshirt, nippy, nights.

Crackling fires, coffee perking, a chill in the air; it's autumn. Summer and autumn, two seasons in one. That’s campin’ in Chicago!

We had an incident in the woods last night.” I straightened out some of the wrinkles in my paper-examining gown as I began my story.

Raccoons broke into our Coleman cooler and stole three to four loaves, three to four, mind you, of our Hostess outlet day-old bread. We have ten children to feed, you know.” The doctor stared, his mouth gaping, shocked that raccoons could open up a Coleman cooler. “Anyway, my husband and I chased them coons like 'possum up a gump stump' but they got away with all our Hostess outlet day-old bread.”

You went tent camping with ten children?” The doctor had a kind of psyche-evaluation look.

No. That would be insane.” This guy was as thick as dew on Dixie. Camping with ten kids, can you imagine? “Our older two stayed home. We're camping with only eight of our children.”

That would explain it.” He went back to writing on his tablet.

Explain what?”

That strand of the Easter basket grass,” he answered.

What strand of Easter basket grass?”  One of my eyes began to twitch.

That strand of Easter basket grass I removed from your per-i-ne-um.”

You found Easter basket grass on my per-i-popo?” My other eye twitched. 

Yes, your 'popo'. I removed it and disposed of it.” He wrote some more on his tablet.

Oh, no, please God, no, not that. Not Easter basket grass-ass! 

I had been trying to vacuum that stuff up since March and here it was “knee-hi-by-July” or should I say “bee-hi-nd-by-July”.

So, as I was saying, doctor, the coons stole our Hostess outlet, day-old bread and here we were standing in the middle of bloody woop-woop and I needed to void.” I winked and laughed. He didn't. I was beginning to feel like the world's only living brain donor.

Anyway, I voided behind a tree and grabbed a bunch of leaves to use as toilet paper...” It hit me. “St. Hyginus! It must have been those leaves. They were poison IVY!”

Mrs. Flanigan, what would raccoons want with day-old bread?” he asked very condescendingly.

This guy had done bit the fat dog in the ass with me. “Ten kids” he was thinkin', “her family never crossed the creek.” Well, I'd be showin' him what a mother of ten knows. I'd spout off some Latin.

“‘Semper ubi sub ubi!’” I quoted our eight year old, son Jack who was studying Latin in school. I would demonstrate that I could converse in practical Latin AND be philosophical too. “That's life, live it for God.”

Do, and you'll not be having this problem again.” He pointed his pen at me.  

Are you saying God is punishing me?” I asked incredulously. “Are you saying I don't ‘ubi sub ubi?’...‘live my life for God’?”

“‘Semper’, means ‘always’, ‘ubi’...‘where’, ‘sub’...‘under’, and ‘ubi’...‘where’.” He said. “Translation? ‘Always where under where’, then you won't have this problem again.” He handed me a prescription for prednisone.

St. John before the Latin Gate,” I muttered. “I'm gonna' kill that kid, I'm gonna' kill him dead.” 

I see you wear two brassieres, so why not underwear?” He pointed at my waist and chest.

I felt my chest and there was my bra. Suddenly, I became cognizant of something around my waist, too.

St. Braulio!” I had on another bra around my waist. I WAS wearing two brassieres!  

It all came back to me. After I had accidentally set fire to one of the campground’s restroom commodes earlier that morning, I had quickly showered, jumped out and snapped on my bra around my waist forgetting to pull it up. I had thrown on my sweatshirt and hurried out.

Back at our campsite, I said good-bye to my husband and kids as they left for their Nuclear Power Plant tour.. I had gone back into the tent to change for my Emergency Room visit for my terrible itching. Not realizing that I still had a bra on around my waist, I must have absent-mindedly put on another bra and snapped that one on up around my chest. 

 “These aren't my brassieres.” I clutched at my chest and stomach. “These are my sheep-dogs. They round them up and gather them in.”   

 “The nurse will be in to give you a mild sedative in pill form. You can get your prescription for the prednisone filled at our hospital pharmacy.” He left.

 Oh, the Heaven of Motherhood…“booed, screwed and tattooed.”


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