I only have 137 days until my wedding, but I’m starting to worry I won’t finish all of the planning. You see, my mom just cashed in decades worth of goddamned Mother’s Day coupons. All at once.

Let me back up—I was a small, cute child with no money and a dream: a dream to give, honor, and celebrate. Mother’s Day coupons were the perfect way to show Mom what she meant to me. But now, I curse childhood me as I sit here wiping the baseboards of her study. It’s just Lavender & Sea Breeze Mrs. Meyers and me—for the sixth time this week. It’s only Tuesday.

I often wondered why she held on to those expertly crafted coupons, never cashing in a single one. I used to think, “Aw, she loves all of my artwork,” or “She’s saving these to show her grandkids,” but now I know she was waiting and plotting. Just when I thought I’d reached adulthood and started a family of my own, I’m being pulled back.

I sneeze from the baseboard dust and grumble, “Why, Mom, why?”

From her bed, where I’ll soon be delivering her breakfast tacos—a food she couldn’t “stomach” until now—she calls back, “Because you’re getting married. It was time to zero out the accounts.”

I dream of floral arrangements and flatware selections, but I won’t be making choices anytime soon. Now, every day now begins the same. I kiss my fiancé Salvator goodbye and retreat to my childhood home, wearing yellow latex gloves with my hair pulled back like a marathoner, and prepare to once again polish all the silver she got in the divorce.

I want to blame her, but I know it’s my own damn fault. I never included expiration dates.

She made sure as hell to hoard the five-minute back rub coupons, so now I’m a thirty-two-year-old woman giving her mom two thousand minutes of back scratches. That’s over thirty-three hours. Someone, please call the doctor: I think I have carpal tunnel.

I try to protest. “I’m sorry, Mom, I can’t help you weed. I have a wedding dress fitting, and I’ve already given you 125 free big hugs today.” She scoffs, placing a hand on her hip, studying the ripped construction paper with my kindergarten handwriting. “Huh, that’s funny,” she says, “I don’t read anywhere that this offer cannot be combined with any other offer.”

I’m not quite sure how to break the news to my partner that I won’t be able to go on the tropical honeymoon we’ve scrimped and saved for, because my mom’s scheduled her “I Cook Mommy Dinner!” coupons for all fifteen nights I was supposed to be in Hawaii. She’s requested French onion brisket and beef bourguignon. Salvator is going to kill me when he realizes our surf lessons and fancy dinner funds are being reallocated to a red meat bounty for Mom.

Every day I’m forced to revisit my innocent naïvete. “Mom, I’m a thirty-two-year-old woman,” I plead. “I have to go home and take Buster for a walk. He hasn’t gone out in three weeks.” But as she rents Walk the Line for the eighth time that week, setting the closed captioning size to “extra big,” I hear her mutter, “I seem to recall Mom’s Movie Choice as having the stipulation ‘No complaints.’”

I apologize for all the times I ate Cheez-Its on the couch, hoping this is some sick and twisted punishment for the crumbs that remain lodged in the cushions, but it’s no use. She still wants the three self-portraits that I offered to give her during my tween years. When I’m not at Mom’s house, I stand in the aisles of Blick Art Supplies sobbing. I fear my fingers are permanently rainbow-stained from the cray-pas oils.

I try to tell Salvator it’s not forever, soon we will be married, but he’s not convinced. The other day, he asked why she was visiting out of the blue. I flashed a faded, crinkled-up sheet of construction paper that read, “Tied Together for a Day,” and slowly raised our arms to reveal the handcuffs linking me and Mom.

She has to run out of coupons soon, but I fear the worst is yet to come. A shudder runs down my spine every time I think about the coupon I gave at age twenty-two when I was a broke college student who spent all my extra cash on weed. That ill-considered coupon gives her the utmost power. A chance to do anything she’s ever wanted me to do—drive her to the airport, brunch with her gal pals, or even call off the wedding.

Yes, I live in fear of the day she will finally cash in the “Mom’s Choice” coupon.