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Coupons Welcome

Coupons Welcome


Does your body make you groan?

I chuckle every time I read this phrase, artfully written in blue marker across the top of a little piece of paper still on my night table. It’s a coupon from my youngest daughter for a back massage, or a foot rub, or for the general kneading of “whatever parts of you are hurting” she told me later.

Stashed in my dresser drawer, along with a stack of homemade cards and random notes from my kids that I won’t have the heart to recycle for at least a year, is a whole wad of coupons. These aren’t your typical offers, but I’d be willing to bet that you’ve seen a few like them.

There’s the classic make-my-bed coupon. The sort-the-whites (without whining!) coupon. A wash-the-car coupon that I’ll hold onto until spring. And the always-popular you-choose-the-movie. This was a limited-time offer that enabled me not only to initiate a short break from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings on family movie night a few months back, but also to finally introduce my daughters to My Girl and Juno.

There’s also the highly thoughtful and equally innovative spring-and-pop. This coupon, which more or less states that its creator will bound out of bed in the morning without having to be nagged to a point of despair that might cause the coupon-maker’s mother (also known as the human alarm clock) to drag her groaning body back into bed, will not be recycled. It’s a keeper. I cherish the spring-and-pop. Its very existence acknowledges a certain awareness on my middle daughter’s part – a need for improvement – which is sometimes enough for us parents. For all its creativity, however, the spring-and-pop can be particularly difficult to redeem, especially at six o’clock on a cold winter’s morning.

Not so, the no-questions-asked massage coupon. In fact, Use as often as you like! is written right across the bottom, fine print I’m sure she’ll come to regret one day. Of all the coupons I’ve received for birthdays and holidays, the massage just might be my all-time favorite. And that first line…

Does your body make you groan? You bet it does! – I thought, when I first received this as a birthday present. Immediately, I reflected on the hours of labor at the very start of this motherhood journey – and then the hard work that helped make me who I am today, a proud mother of three.

But that’s not what this coupon was about. This one came in response to some serious complaining Mommy had been logging as she continued on the journey: the achy back, creaky knees, and elbows that had recently started an annoying clicking thing. And just a few days earlier, I’d had the nerve to suggest that our nightly Bananagrams tournaments be relocated from the family room floor to the kitchen table.

“It will be more comfortable for everyone,” I announced. And yes, there was groaning.

Does your body make you groan? Why yes, it does! And the massage alone was the perfect gift for a dedicated, hard-working, and often exhausted mother. Well, almost. Maybe the real gift there was the thought process and energy that went into creating this coupon, the very existence of which showed a major awareness on my youngest daughter’s part.

Does your body make you groan? Why, yes it does – sometimes. And thanks for noticing. And in the future, this Mom of a certain age will try to keep the whining to a minimum. I’ll take that massage now, thanks. And I love you too – no expiration date.


Karen Schwartzkopf has her dream job as managing editor of RFM. Wife, mother, arts and sports lover, she lives and works in the West End with her family: husband Scott, who not coincidentally is RFM’s creative director, and their daughters – Sam, Robin, and Lindsey. You can read Karen’s take on parenting in the Editor’s Voice.

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