1. She used your middle name when screaming from another room that you needed to report to her immediately.
2. Dead silence on her end of the line when you called her at work for the twenty-seventh time in one afternoon.
3. Proclaiming at dinner that you don’t really care for liver and onions, and your plate is suddenly whisked away from in front of you.
4. You arrive at your house two seconds after the designated time to stop playing dodge ball with the neighborhood kids, and you see that the porch light has been turned off.
5. Anything that requires Mom to consult with Grandma about the appropriate punishment.
6. Getting off the bus after school and realizing that she was already home from work.
7. Those moments when you stupidly said something like “everybody else’s Mom is buying them a G.I. Joe!”
8. You walk into your bedroom and discover that your favorite toy is missing, replaced by a mop bucket and a sponge.
9. Any conversation that she starts with “I was talking to your teacher today…”
10. She slams on the brakes for no apparent reason while you and your sister are arguing with each other in the backseat of the car.
11. You threaten to call and report the horrible injustices you are suffering within this family and she hands you the phone.
12. You are squirming around in the pew at church, all fussy and bored, resulting in the accidental dislodging of the hymnal from its proper resting place, and the resounding boom of book meeting floor interrupts the pastor’s sermon on proper child-rearing.
13. You encounter Mom sitting at the kitchen table with the next-door neighbor, the old one who never drops by just to chat or have a cocktail.
14. She walks into the den and is fully aware that you have been jumping on the couch again even though you stopped doing that ten minutes ago when one of the important springs made an anguished noise.
15. The dreaded words “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you…”
16. The fake smile she gives the floor manager at the department store after he informs her that you were caught running in between the clothing racks and knocking things over.
17. The lack of the phrase “just wait until your father gets home” when she confronts you with another ill-advised activity, thus negating the cool-down period before retribution…
18. Hearing the trash truck drive by the house without stopping, meaning the trash you were supposed to carry out there did not quite make the journey, despite multiple memos from the home office urging you to make sure such a thing happened.
19. You fail to fully appreciate the socks and underwear that were graciously wrapped and placed under the Christmas tree just for you, and she quietly marches over to the really big package that you haven’t opened yet and tears your name tag off of it.
20. That look she would give you when she was having to remind herself how very much she loved you….
Previously published, slight changes made. And yes, that’s an actual picture of me and the first of my sisters. I’m sure she’s accusing me of some type of manufactured malfeasance, one of her specialties…
Reading this now, nearly a decade after the original version, Mom comes across as possibly mean-spirited. She is not. You have to balance her reactions with my provocative indiscretions. (Note how I have not noted my own provocations, for the most part. There are still statutes of limitations that have not expired. Safety first.) I was an angel 97% of the time (and Mom will concur). But when I got in a tizzy about something, I could cross a bridge that went too far with more gusto than I should have had. You live, you learn, and eventually you take the damn trash out when you’re supposed to…
Categories: My Life