Friday, April 23, 2010

Embarrassed By My Mom

The current contest from Talbots has me thinking about ways that my mom embarrassed and exasperated me through the years.  What would I write about?  That she didn't shave her legs (but wore skirts all the time)?  The time she insisted on putting Stayfree Maxi-pad boxes in the family room fireplace even though I was entertaining a cute boy?  The way she over-reacted to a friend who accidentally broke a thrift-store find, claiming he had destroyed a valuable antique?  How she refused to knock $1 off the price of an old and very heavy club chair at one of her yard sales, with the result that my brother-in-law threw out his back toting it back into the house - costing him hundreds in medical bills?  That she was older and considerably stricter than most of the mothers of my friends -- which was mortifying in countless, unbearable ways?

Of course now that I am mother to two almost-teenagers myself, who are as embarrassed of me (how could that be?  I'm hip!  I dress well!  I listen to their music!) as I was of my mother, I've softened, somewhat, regarding her flaws.

Here, then, is the story I posted for the contest, which I've entitled Nothing Better to Do:

When I was in 5th grade, my teachers invited parents to school for a day. Most parents came early and quickly left as demands of work or caring for younger children interceded. My mom came and stayed all day. I was embarrassed – didn’t she have anything better to do? But in time, I realized that to her, having “nothing better to do” had an entirely different meaning. My mom wanted me to know that nothing in her life was more important to her than me and my education – and staying all day was her way of showing that.

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