Here’s the lowdown. Sunday is Mother’s Day. While it would be easy to send flowers or a massage, Mommy Dearest channeled her innermost masochist and requested a gift from the cold, dark hearts of her children. She asked for a list from each of her three life-ruiners of the things we liked about having her as a mother growing up, as well as a list of the things we did not like. As a sybarite who is only interested in hearing fabulous things about myself, this sounds like my nightmare. Nevertheless, I must acquiesce to this Mother’s Day wish. After all, the quintessence of Mother’s Day is reminding your mother that there’s always room for improvement.
Luckily for you, Mom, you raised a grudge-wielding psychopath who is happy to regurgitate a list of compliments and resentments for you on this joyous occasion. I’ve been sharpening my perspicacity since I could speak, so that I could use it against you one day. You have now encouraged me to do so. Sorry in advance, but this is all your fault.
THE LIKE LIST
ROYAL SCHOOL LUNCH
We weren’t your typical brown bag lunch kids. In fact, we were all pretty particular about what we would and would not eat. I don’t remember ever being much interested in school food at all. As soon as I had the option to purchase things a la carte, it was over. Moreover, my mom went to Leger’s (a deeelicious local deli) and hand-delivered us food to the lunchroom on the regs without requesting a delivery tip. While most kids went on sh**tty carb tours during the lunch hour, I shoved my happy little pie hole with turkey and cheese on a sourdough roll, Sour Cream & Onion Lays and a variety of highbrow beverages (think: Arizona Iced Tea and Kiwi Strawberry Snapple). That kind of star treatment did not go under-appreciated in middle school, nor did the coffee cakes she made that I tore the brown sugar topping off every time without fail, preventing proper consumption of at least half of it.
By that, I mean there wasn’t much. I made it to year 28 without ever having felt the sting of consequence. I think the worst it ever got for me was the threat of a phone call to my Dad, the theoretical disciplinarian. Don’t get me wrong, we were chased with a wooden spoon so frequently that I had more interaction with that son of a bitch than any other kitchen utensil, but 1) spoon-beatings are too fleeting to be effective and 2) we learned early on that laughing in your Mom’s face and wagging your ass at her while she tries to spank you with a spoon will indubitably trump her effort to teach any sort of a lesson, as well as prevent any sort of satisfaction by spoon. At the age when my friends began having “restrictions” as a result of bad behavior, I would sneer in the face of verbal threats to have privileges removed. For instance, my senior year of high school when two of my best friends and I got busted partaking in illegal activities at my VERY SOUTHERN bff’s house, I chose to bypass the punishment enforced by her parents (which, was to stay in her room all night even though it was Winter Formal and there were parties to be attended). Instead of staying in and contemplating our poor decisions, I jumped out her window in the middle of winter into waist-deep snow, ran down the small mountain her house was perched on, jumped into the escape vehicle of another friend, went home to tell my mom what had happened, and took off to a party with her blessing. Thanks, Mom. I bet you’re regretting that now! (Cackles.)
To this day, I get reminded by one of my best friends about the time my Mom wore two different shoes to a pre-Europe trip meeting at school. I’m not talking like two different black flats. It was like, one of the shoes had a closed toe and a heel and the other shoe was flat and had a peep toe. It was like that. It was actually like that. While you might think I would put this under my list of resentments, I think it gave off the vibe that no sh**s were given that day by Mom and she was, therefore, an incredible bad ass who was not to be messed with. Do you think you’d go at someone wearing two totally different shoes? My guess is that you’d be a bit concerned, impressed and frightened, all at once. And no, no you would not go at that person.
To this day, I eat like a seven-year-old, at best. I was not open to trying new foods and still struggle with it. My Mom is an amazing cook and baker and we had top-class dinners prepared daily, but I could always count on whatever food I was fixated on at that point. I think my Mom made me Tyson chicken tenders and carrot sticks every night for probably two years, followed by another few years of chicken Caesar salad ONLY. While everyone else dined on steak, twice-baked potatoes, salad etc., my food-paranoia was fostered and embraced. And now? I am pretty sure every person I have ever dated has had at least seven major panic attacks regarding my food behaviors. You cannot take me anywhere *too* nice and I am mentally not able to even entertain the idea of expanding my palate. Gentlemen callers, be warned.
THE RESENTMENT RUN-DOWN
I can’t. I still can’t deal with the van years, which were all of the years. I don’t know that Mom is totally to blame here, as Dad had the final say when it came to vehicles. I’m starting to wonder if he wanted to keep my Mom’s hot ass in check by constantly purchasing family vans for her to tote us around in. And it’s like, he went out of his way to get luxurious vans with automatic doors and televisions and such. But WHY? These various vans were always a source of embarrassment for me, as I was unapologetically aware that vans were not and will never be cool from a young age, especially not in a vermilion shade. Not only that, but our vans had glittery bumper stickers with phrases like “YOU GO GIRL” plastered on them and they all managed to look like they had been bitten by giant yetis because (SORRY) my Mom had an uncanny ability to run into things (at least not people). (She is denying this as she reads it.) Anyway, during the formative years, self-esteem is directly hinged upon things not in a child’s control, like the clothing your parents dress you in and the sweet (or not so sweet) rides they roll up in. The van was sort of mitigated by the amazingly matchy/matchy Gap Kids outfits we were adorned in (generally two completely purple on purple on purple outfits for my sister and me and green on green on green for the brother), but the van shame lives on.
Anyone who knows me is aware that until I turned eighteen, I was stuck in the body of a twelve-year-old boy/Bambi. While all my friends were running around with awesome racks and talking about their periods in middle school, I was getting relentlessly teased for lacking in physical maturity. I was assigned nicknames like “Jennie Stick” and “TW.” What does “TW” stand for, you might ask? T*TLESS WONDER. Who was the begetter of that name? MY OWN BROTHER. How long did I not know what that stood for? YEARS. So yes, my own family members harassed me on this topic. If I had a dollar for every time my dad asked me when the Boob Fairy was coming, and a dollar for every resulting chuckle that escaped my other family members’ mouths, I’d have Heidi Montagged myself at the plastic surgeon by fifteen and had enough cash left over to legally emancipate myself. When I turned eighteen, everything changed. I went from being completely concave in the chest area to suddenly possessing a sprawling metropolis of T&A (mostly T). I have no one to take this out on but my parents. I can’t scientifically place blame on one parent, so Mom, you can take the heat since it’s your day and you deserve it.
I’m just going to wrap this up by saying that I am still mad about the following items.
I am hereby still angry that-
1. You made me wait forever to shave my legs, and when you finally did allow me to, you only let me shave them to my knees. (WHY? WHY MOM, WHY?)
2. You also made me wait till I was fourteen and get straight A’s in order to pierce my belly button. Shortly thereafter, you allowed Mackenzie (younger sister) to have the same privilege at a much younger age without having to put in the same hard work. I still remember you unveiling her birthday gift- some sort of certificate notifying her that she would be getting her belly button pierced. I do not think I have ever felt a stronger urge to attack someone in my entire life. You and her both.
3. You always bought the kind of orange juice that James and Mackenzie liked and in doing so ignored my needs, thus forcing me to live in their juice shadow…forever. You clearly cared more about their happiness than mine, and that hurts me.
4. One time when I screamed in bed at the sight of a spider, paralyzed with fear, desperately needing you to come to my rescue, you happened to be on the phone and did not appreciate the interruption. I continued to scream as you killed the spider with a paper towel. At that point in time, you nudged me with your free, spider-contaminated hand, in an effort to shut me up. Instead, you smudged spider guts all over my arm. I have never been the same. I will never be the same. In fact, I think this may be the root of all of my future problems. Mystery = solved!
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY. I LOVE YOU! I’m sorry for ruining your day… and life.
All my love/Sincerely,
The only child who matters