I was the perfect child. At least in my mind. I did well in school, respected my elders, and never, ever caused trouble.
Until I did.
→ There was the time my younger brother tried to come into my room (my private space), and I shut the door on him – and ignored his screams when his finger got caught between the door and the jamb. Mom was not happy. But at least the finger wasn’t broken.
→ There was the time I lied to my mother about the elderly neighbor having invited me to come visit. I was little and the old guy always treated me like his very own grandchild. I didn’t understand why his wife told me to go away that day. How was I to know that he was in the process of dying? My mother had a little talk with me after receiving a visit from the gentleman’s angry, grieving wife.
→ There was the time, as a preteen, when I went shoplifting with a friend at a locally owned drugstore. When I came home with lipsticks that I had not paid for, my mother marched me back to the store and made me not only return the items, but also personally apologize to the pharmacist-owner, promising I would never steal again. The embarrassment was enough to keep me in line, and my mother never mentioned it again.
→ There was the time, when I had become a teenager, that I thought it would be highly amusing to sneak up behind my not-so-young aunt while she was vacuuming, tap her on the shoulder and shout “SURPRISE!” Once she was able to breathe again, my aunt had a talk with my mother, and then began locking her door at all times. My mother, of course, had a talk with me.
My mother, rest her soul, was the perfect parent – loving, patient, understanding, kind.
Until she wasn’t.
Despite her frustration with her four children, we all knew she loved us and was doing her best. But I’ll never forget the day, when I was still small, when she lost her temper and told me, “You’re not my daughter. My daughter would never do that!”
I thought she meant it. I thought perhaps I was adopted. I thought she wanted me to leave. My teary response was, “Well, then whose daughter am I?”
Even very angry mothers can set aside their emotions to comfort a traumatized child.
As I said, my mother was the perfect parent. I can only hope I was as good a mom to my own kids, but like all moms I’m only human. Like all moms, I did my best, but there were times …
Hopefully, the kids weren’t traumatized too badly.
May your family life be peaceful and loving at all times. Unless, of course, you’re human – in which case, may you and your family survive all the ups and downs and become better people for it.
Hugs to all of you from Cordelia’s Mom.
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Image by Cordelia’s Mom/TeddyRosalie Studio