I was not the child I thought I was. In my mind, I was well-behaved from the moment of birth. I was malleable to suggestions for improvements, and I was good listener. This was before I learned about the tank, the escape artist, the fashionista, the tyrant and the naughty teenager.
I discovered these things over the years as my mother gently mentioned them from time to time or as they came up as Little Saxon stories to my girlfriends.
In order of appearance: It was Christmas. My mother had purchased me a cute little dolly. That’s what mothers did for their little girls because little girls were supposed to like dolls. My older brother got a tank. The first words out of my mouth were “My tank.” I pointed at the tank. I dropped the dolly and snatched the tank. Needless to say, there was a tussle.
The Escape Artist: My mother’s best friend lived across the street. She had a cute little boy that I had a baby crush on. Daily, I would waddle my diapered ass across the street to see my crush. Horrified, my mother would drag me back and counsel me on the dangers of crossing the street unsupervised. I nodded, but did it again and again. My father built a small fence to keep me imprisoned in my own front yard. I dug a hole and slipped underneath.
The Fashionista: I insisted on dressing myself. And we all know how that works out—mismatched outfits, hideous color coordination, and in my case, a penchant for wearing my clothes inside out. My father and my grandmother couldn’t figure out how come my mother wouldn’t make me mind. I can tell them now—because she was exhausted with my antics. Just combing my hair was a battle in itself, never mind getting me dressed.
The Tyrant: I went to kindergarten and while walking home I told my mother, with all the righteous conviction my five year-old self could muster, that I would not be going back. I’d tried it and I didn’t like it. In my mind, the deal was settled. Surely, she would understand. That began my career of coming home from school each day and delivering a speech of all the injustices heaped upon me by an unjust and evil world. Couldn’t she see that I should not have to put up with this banal crap? That went on until she went back to school and became a nurse. I had lost my audience.
The Naughty Teenager: I’m pleading the Fifth Amendment on these stories because when she reads this I just don’t think she could handle it.
So Happy Mother’s Day! I love you for still loving me. I know it must be hard but look how well it all turned out—I’m not driving a tank, escaping from prison, wearing my clothes inside out and I didn’t go into politics. It’s all good.