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  • Kristan Higgins

Maternal recognition

Updated: May 3, 2022


You know those mothers who just sense when their child is near? My mom is not one of them. No, she is completely unable to hear or recognize me in public. It's quite something, this habit of hers.

For example, this morning, Dearest Son and I went grocery shopping. On the way into the parking lot, we saw my mom leaving in her cute little car with her cute little vanity plate and half a dozen Yankees stickers. I was coming into the parking lot; she was going out.

“It’s Grammy!” I said, and called, “Mom! Hi, Mom!” Her windows were open; so were mine. I waved my long gorilla-like arm. “Mom! Mom!”

“Grammy! Hi, Grammy!” Dearest yelled.

Nothing. Nada. She didn’t even flick an eyelash in our direction. I’m telling you, I could’ve touched her car.


“Ouch,” Dearest said. “She is stone cold!” There was quite a bit of admiration in his voice, as if his little grammy could be an assassin—just neutralize the target and walk away. “She looked like a robot.”

This is not the first time my mom has missed seeing me. A few years ago, she nearly ran me off the road during a run. “You didn’t see me?” I asked.

“There are so many runners these days,” she said. “How can I tell you all apart?”

“Because I’m your daughter? A tall brunette with glasses wearing a Yankees hat and a firefighting t-shirt running with a black dog who looks hauntingly like Willow because she is Willow? No? Nothing? Didn’t ring any bells?”

Another time, I was Christmas shopping at a mall and spotted a beloved little figure clutching her purse and bags. “Mom!” I called. Nothing. “Ma! Ma!” Nope. “Noel!” I yelled. Still nothing. So I ran over to her, about fifty feet, the whole time laughing and saying, “Mom! It’s me, your child!” She was oblivious until I touched her shoulder. “Jesus, Kristan, what are you doing here?” she yelped, clutching her purchases a little closer as if I was going to mug her. (I wasn’t. Not that time.)


Oh, I know she loves me. She just invited me to have dinner sometime this week. Galushga, too. My favorite. I think she’s feeling guilty.

I’ll take it.


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