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MY MOTHER IS A SAINT

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.

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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.

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