My mom and I have a strange and often complicated relationship. I think I’ve learned more about her in the past few years for my own sanity, because sometimes? The woman drives me nuts. She’s a mom, that’s her job.
As I’ve mentioned a bunch of times before, I was an only child for almost nine years and also my mom stayed at home with me. So we spent lots of time together. We went to story time at the library every week. We went to the grocery store and the park. My dad plays basketball every Thursday night, and so my mom and I would go roller skating every Thursday night (at Skate City, before it became the ghettooooo). I slept in her bed when my dad would go out of town, despite the fact that I used to be quite the flailer and would pretty much always smack her in the face once or twice during the night or wake her up with my sleep talking. One time, she read me “Robinson Crusoe” every night before bed. She was a champ, because inevitably, I fell asleep about 5 words into that night’s installment. Clearly I was not enamored of Mr. Crusoe and his day-of-the-week monikered pal on the island.
My mom is the oldest of five kids, and so I think her attitude about raising me came from understanding that some things are just out of your control and the best thing to do is to stay calm and, if the situation warranted it, roll your eyes. This was especially necessary with Reckless McStumble as her daughter. Knees ripped out of jeans, skinned knees, the time I got stuck on the top of my jungle gym in the backyard for a couple of hours while my mom was taking a nap. I can’t tell you the number of times I fell out of bed – the topper being the time I rolled out of the top bunk of my bed at our condo in Winter Park and probably knocked myself out, as I didn’t wake up. My mom heard the thud of me hitting the floor, but I was confused when I woke up there the next morning.
Then came the teenage years. These were the years when I didn’t like my mom very much. She was so BOSSY and there was YELLING. Oh the yelling. We argued all the time, because that what Irish girls do – they flip out. It happens to this day – although try as we might to stay mad at each other, it never works because one of us always has something to tell the other one pretty soon after that so we stop fighting. As many secrets as I kept from my mom in my teenage years and even early twenties, she now knows more about me than any one of my friends.
One of my favorite memories of my mom was the summer after 9th grade. There was this girl at school who had been harassing me all year long. She was a year older, and one day she just started calling me “bitch” and “slut” whenever I walked by. I finally figured out that the reason behind it is because I was friends with her boyfriend (a senior) and she thought I was trying to steal him. Which I wasn’t – I didn’t become a boyfriend stealer until much later. Ha. Anyway. She and her friends cornered me on the last day of school and screamed at me and then…she made a fatal mistake. One night, she and her friends tp’d my house – unflattering words in shaving cream on the driveway and sidewalk, an overturned wheelbarrow of dirt in the yard and the final touch? They turned on our hose. That was the mistake. My mom heard the water running and saw the mess, and so we luckily got it cleaned up before morning. Was my mom ever pissed. She called the girl’s house and talked to her dad. She told him that his daughter had been harassing me all year and that last night she and her friends vandalized our house. My mom said “I want it to stop right now. And if it doesn’t, we’ll be in YOUR driveway.” And she hung up. The girl never spoke to me again, and the bad karma from calling me a slut bit her in the ass later because guess who got pregnant at prom? But my mom? Awesome. That’s the other thing about us – don’t mess with our family or you will be sad.
I pretty much talk to my mom every day. She has a key to my house, which, when I gave it to her, came with the stipulation that any abuse of key privileges would result in key revocation. She’s been excellent about it thus far. She comes over when I’m at work and tidies up the house and plays with the cats. She leaves groceries for me and waters the plants. She bought sectioned plates for me to take leftovers home in because of my “thing” about my food touching. She constantly organizes my Tupperware cupboard because my haphazard approach to it makes it difficult to find lids and whatnot. Stuff like that.
My parents are now alone in our house, since my brother moved out at the beginning of the month. I thought she’d have a harder time with it, since he’s the baby and all, but she’s not. She was telling me last night that it was much harder when I moved out (the first time) to go to college. I said I remember her calling me at school once and saying that she “missed my face” because I make a lot of faces when I tell stories.
When I told her that, she started to cry. I was like “What? Why are you crying?” and she said “I don’t know – I just always love to hear your voice on the answering machine and I think to myself ‘don’t erase that until you see her again’”. Aww. I love my mom.