“Okay, Betty, remember to leave plenty of snacks in the kitchen so no one will know you’re missing. We’re leaving our cars in the school parking lot, where our teen girls will never look, and taking Judy’s van.”
“A gal pal day…I don’t have to hear anything about Facebook or the new Apple Watch they need…just adult conversation. But what if the girls find out?”
“Betty, they’re slowly driving us all crazy. The four of us are going shopping, then Chinese food for lunch, then movie. We’ll be home by 7 p.m. We deserve this. We always give up, so they can have. Just today, it’s our turn.”
School Parking Lot, 9 a.m. the next morning.
“Sally and Betty, you guys get in the back, hide under the beach towels till we’re on the boat. Sharon, you drive shotgun next to me, just lean your seatback till we’re safe.”
At the store.
“Oy, Sally, look at this blouse, Sherry would love this…”
“Sharon, never mind the girls, what do YOU need?”
“You know what? You’re right. I’m entitled to waste a little money on essentials. I need new underwear, all my elastic bands are stretched out and my underwear falls straight to the floor. And I just have one good bra left, and it has a safety pin on the strap. And I need socks of my own. I just wear my daughter’s mismatched leftovers.”
“My daughter has stolen every good hairbrush I get. And my hair clips? All gone. Today, Sharon, we take back our priorities and make ourselves Number 1, just for a day. Just like we did before marriage and children, when we were just like them.”
7 p.m., four sour-faced teenage girls are leaning against the cars.
“Oh my gawd, Judy, slow down, it’s the girls. They look like the four horsemen of the apocalypse. What are we gonna do?”
“Sally, don’t panic. Everyone, slide your bags under the seats, I’ll get them to you tomorrow. We’ll tell them we were in Mashomack Preserve for the day, planning something or other…”
“I can’t shake this panic, Judy. They’re going to kill us in our sleep.”
“Puh-leez! Look at those faces, they’re gonna kill us right here.”
The mothers nonchalantly exit the van.
“Where were you today, mother?” asks Sherry of her mother, Sharon.
“Just at a ladies function at the Preserve.”
“In your ugly, but most comfortable loafers that you only wear to shop?”
“Stay strong, Sharon,” says Sally.
Chenoa begins circling her mother, Sally. “Is that Kung Pao shrimp on your breath, mother?”
“Ah ha! Look at all these bags stuffed in the van,” says Judy’s daughter. “Look at the crap they bought, socks, underwear, anti-wrinkle creams. There’s nothing in here for us! I hate you, Mom.”
The daughters storm off.
“Alright,” says Judy, “next year we hide the cars in deer blinds. Just remember, we haven’t done anything wrong. Someday they’ll be mothers too, and this karmic debt will all come back to them.”