When I am writing, because I frequently write about my family members, I have gotten into the habit of calling them to ask ‘if it is okay’ for me to print ‘this or that’ on my blog. Obviously, I do the same with any personal pictures I use as well.
Recently, I was writing a rather painful piece (not yet posted) about my childhood and my parents. The years have brought me a great deal of understanding and forgiveness: I was aiming for a loving tone. I thought I could make that happen by providing few examples of times when I had messed up as a parent. A number of rather funny personal parenting fails came to mind (although I recall that they weren’t as funny at the time), and I cheered up considerably as I was writing: my fingers were flying across the keyboard. Impulsively, I fired off a quick text to both my adult children asking if they had any examples that I could add to the bunch. I got two very cryptic texts in return.
‘Crap, Mom. That’s REALLY heavy…’ typed my son.
‘Um…I’ll think about it and get back to you,’ typed my daughter.
I have always had a bit of a flair for the melodramatic. I sat very still for the longest time until my lack of movement caught the attention of my husband, who was busy working on his laptop a few feet away. “What are you thinking about?” he queried innocently, unaware of my pending crisis.
“I was a GOOD mother!” I wailed, after a cursory explanation of the above-mentioned texts. “Sure, I made some mistakes – every mother makes mistakes but geez, you’d think I was Attila the Hun or something!”
“And where, exactly, did you get this impression?” asked my bemused husband.
“Well it’s OBVIOUS that they can’t even discuss whatever traumatic thing they’re obviously thinking about!” I snapped, getting up from my seat and flouncing upstairs to write a REAL article about REAL childhood trauma and angst. “I think you’re making a big deal out of nothing!” called my husband to my retreating back.
Several hours later, much calmed down, I was ready to make amends to my poor, disturbed and troubled children. I started with my son, by sending him the following text:
‘I am a little (a lot) horrified that a question that was meant to incite funny memories was so difficult for you, honey. It IS good to make your peace with childhood hurts as early in life as you can. You CAN talk to me, you know…’
‘Um, Mom? I’m still trying to come up with something.’ answered my perplexed son.
“You’re just not that funny, Mom,” said my daughter when I Skyped her the next day asking (with a great deal of trepidation) if, perhaps she had an example. “The only thing that’s coming to mind is the time you gave me the nosebleed in the tub.” (said nosebleed happening when I, trying to rapidly rinse my five-year old daughter’s soapy head when she was on the verge of a major temper tantrum, yelled “You are SAVED, sinner!” as I melodramatically pushed her backward into the tub, baptism-style).
“So…you weren’t keeping quiet because I traumatized you? You just had nothing to contribute?”
My husband shot me a significant look from his end of the couch.
By the time the whole story came out, my daughter was rolling her eyes (but smiling); my husband had said “I told you so,” at least three times and I was screaming with laughter.
So…they weren’t traumatized; neither were they terribly entertained. And the nosebleed incident was meant to be funny, and purely unintentional, albeit my daughter’s favourite guilt-trip fodder.
You know what? I can live with that…
Patti Moore Wilson © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com