Monthly Archives: April 2014

“Mom says…”: A Prelude to Mother’s Day

You know how moms say all those crazy things? If you’re a mom, you know. You’ve said words that should never be together in a sentence or, worse, sentences that used to come out of your own mother’s mouth years ago. My mom had no amazing sayings of her own, all hers were standard fare, but she did follow through on her threats.

She was always a big fan of the “If you don’t knock it off, I am going to pull this car over!”

1980_Ford_Fairmont

This was essentially the car she was going to pull over, only ours was silver. Photo swipered from stationwagon.com

 

And she did. Several times.

Once, Chris was being such a little shit that I think Mom considered murdering him. We were going into town and Chris was acting up, per usual. Mom threatened him with the big Pull Over and he didn’t stop so she pulled the car well off the side of the road, well, Interstate, actually, and once The Ford was safely parked, she flung herself over the seat into the back seat to smack Chris only because he was part monkey, he jumped into the far back of the vehicle and a 3 Stooges skit ensued. Mom and Chris were diving over seats, getting out of the car, running around the car and getting back in via another door, Chris simultaneously shrieking and chortling, Mom making dire threats.  A police car pulled up behind us to see if we were alright and Mom used that to her advantage, telling Chris that he’d been misbehaving so horribly that the police had to show up. I don’t remember what happened afterward – I think Mom explained to the officer that she was trying to kill her son because he was being a horrible monster and I think the cop did the disapproving stare and gave Chris a “Listen, Young Man” lecture through a window and then Chris settled down, but I might have made that ending up, I don’t know. I do know that no one was arrested or murdered and we all made it to town and back in one piece.

She also enjoyed “Don’t make me come over there.”

You know, the first ten times you hear that as a kid, you’re maybe a little concerned. But note: there’s no consequence implied. What’s going to happen if you make her come over there? Nothing. So after twenty more times that threat is spoken, you’re not worried because it’s meaningless noise.
Until something does happen because you know what? My mom liked to mix things up. 30 “Don’t make me come over there”s were general operating procedure but she meant the 31st. She came over there…with a wooden spoon and we all got smacked about the head, shoulders, fleeing butts, whatever. From then on, irritating Mom was a little like playing Russian Roulette; we never knew which “Don’t make me come over there” was real.

Once Noelle got old enough, probably Kindergarten-aged, Mom broke out the “Stop your crying or I’ll give you something to cry about” threat. I don’t know that we’d really heard this much before the advent of Noelle; neither Chris nor I were big cry-ers. But Noelle was. By the time I heard that threat, I was eight or nine and logic was beginning to grow in my head. I thought, “She’s already crying about something, even if it’s something stupid. It’s not like she’s just crying on a whim.” Apparently, I was wrong. Mom would go over to Noelle, take away whatever she had, pick her up, carry her to her room, put her in there, and shut the door. That definitely gave Noelle something to cry about.

There was one dire promise Mom never did make good on. When she was totally fed up with us – which was just silly because, honestly, we were adorable little angels all the time – she’d yell, “SO HELP ME, GOD, I AM GOING TO SELL YOU TO THE GYPSIES!” yet she never did. It may have been because there were no gypsies in  Colorado Springs who were willing to buy children. Or, more likely, as she’d explain later, “You children are so bad not even the gypsies would want you.”

29-Mother-hides-her-face-in-shame-after-putting-her-children-up-for-sale-Chicago-1948

If she could have, this would have been me, Noelle, Chris, and Bedot. Sadly, no one would have made an offer. Read more here: http://www.nwitimes.com/news/local/lake/hammond/sold-off-siblings-shown-in-old-photo-tell-their-stories/article_1c095598-89f4-584b-891b-7ef48a1e2082.html

I guess this is what being a mom is all about: Making ridiculous threats, luring your children into a false sense of security, then pouncing! Apparently, it teaches manners or responsibility or twitchiness or something. Actually, not true. You know what we did learn, aside from self-preservation? A sense of humor because we figured out that if we made Mom laugh while we were still on the verge of being in trouble, we could get away with pretty much anything. There was no threat that could withstand the force of funniness and that is why we are all comedic geniuses today.

I wonder if moms still do this – promises of retribution – or if this is something of the past…like Monchichis and  Walkmans? If this is no longer a thing, you kids have no idea how easy y’all got it these days.

 

Advertisements

5 Comments

Filed under My Dearly Beloveds, White trash childhood

“I hate mommy”: A prelude to Mother’s Day

I’ve written, a time or two, about my horrible mother and the awful things she did to us (like lying about bread and telling us the bug museum was boring) Seriously, our childhoods were so miserable, so Annie-like, that Chris, in a fit of anger at being sent to his room for punishment, scrawled “I hate mommy” in mad black crayon of newly-learned letters on the back of his dresser. Mom discovered this act of rebellion years later when we were moving to a new house and she thought it was funny. She told all her friends and they all laughed because they were probably also heartless, evil people.

I recently had the opportunity to play Mom, which is like playing dress-up only with more responsibility, for a week. Noelle’s husband took her to Las Vegas for her birthday and I stayed in their house with their children and their diabetic cat and made sure no one died. Because, really, if you boil it down to the very basics, a parent’s job is to make sure no one dies. I totally rocked that job but in doing so, I had to reminisce on my own early life, had to remember the lessons doled out by my own awful parent in order to pass along wisdom and essential knowledge (such as: if you don’t do your homework, you can’t go outside and play with your friends)

All that thinking led to a shocking realization: while my mother was obviously abusive and mean, she sort of did a really good job at raising her kids. It took me this long to see that not only did we NOT die while in her care, but we can also do a ton of things that many of our peers don’t do. We’re a tough little pack of white-trash, redneck hooligans who can garden, preserve food, pluck chickens, cook food, balance a checkbook, budget a household, mend broken animals, whip out witty/scathing one-liners like we have hundreds to spare, overuse our vast imaginations, completely ignore trends and fashions and look good doing it, read, laugh at ourselves (and everyone else), and stand up for ourselves. We can do these things because we’ve been doing them since we were the ages Noelle’s kids are now. Back then, we also had to make our own lunches, clean the dinner dishes, wash and fold our own clothing, buy our own toiletries, entertain ourselves and a bunch of other crap that was supposed to teach us responsibility and self-reliance, though I don’t think that’s why we did those things. I think it was because Mom got tired of doing stuff for four rotten urchins and told us to learn to take care of ourselves. And we did. And we can. Because our mother taught us how.

Also – we are all very classy because we are apples who have fallen way too close to the tree.

Classy lady - Mom

Classy mother is classy.

Classy lady - Daughter 1

This is our mom’s classy daughter on her wedding day. Seriously.

Classy lady - Daughter 2

This is our mom’s other classy daughter who is probably going to kill me when she sees I posted this. But, hey, it’s on Facebook so it already belongs to The Internet, right?

Classy lady - Daughter 3

Also placed here without permission…and no, she’s obviously nowhere near as classy as the rest of us but, then, this one doesn’t ham it up as often as perhaps other family members, ergo, there are fewer classy pictures of her.

 

6 Comments

Filed under My Dearly Beloveds, My Opinions on STUFF, White trash childhood

The glue that binds. Well, sticks. And is messy.

Ugh. It’s the time of year again in which I feel obliged to acknowledge my stupid husband.

Fitting that this day falls upon April 1st, isn’t it?

Every once in awhile, I think about Gabe and not in the context of smothering him in his sleep or poisoning his food. Sometimes, I reminisce on how we got together (and what I could have done to avoid it) and chuckle.

Today, I was thinking about the moment he fell in love with me.

Now, if you ask Gabe, he’ll say that he’d been in love with me for years but that would be a lie. Gabe’s a sappy romantic and makes up crap because he thinks it’s sweet. It’s not, it’s nauseating.

Back to the In Love moment: We were driving along, just friends who were going on some adventure or another (Gabe could probably tell you what we were doing because he always remembers that stuff. Reason: see above)

He was being all snobbish about how great he is, talking about movies and doing that thing where he throws out titles no one else has ever heard of so that he looks all artsy and hipsterish. I don’t remember exactly what he said, though I am sure he does, referencing an esoteric little piece and I, having seen and loved the movie he was quoting, started singing this:

Gabe’s jaw fell from his head and landed in his lap. He just stared at me. It is true that I felt pretty smug inside for besting him at his own snotty little game.

He whispered, “I’ve never met anyone else who knows that movie,” and I knew he’d just been struck by Cupid’s damned arrow.

And now look. We’re old married people and the only thing I look forward to is putting him into his grave.

But you know what? We’re a pretty good couple.

One heart, one song…but there is no ONE – Happy It-All-Started-Today Anniversary, HusbandFace.

 

4 Comments

Filed under My Dearly Beloveds