Lessons from my mom
May 9, 2014
Always make time to play with the kids. (Or grandkids.) When the family is gathered, my dad often complains that my mom is wasting time "piddling around with the kids" rather than doing something he wants her to do. She usually ignores him, because she figured out long ago that kids grow up way too fast. If they want you to get down on the floor and play Ninja Turtles or My Little Pony or Legos with them, you should do it—because next year, they'll have moved on to something new. You have to grab that moment before it's gone. The grumpy old man can get his own Mountain Dew, or whatever else he needs. Grandmama is building a Lincoln Log village, and that's more important.
Things are usually not as bad as you think they are. In third grade, I was sent to the principal's office for drawing a somewhat mean picture of a very mean teacher. I was either too involved in my masterpiece to notice or else she was exceptionally stealthy, because she managed to sneak up behind me before I could hide the evidence. The entire walk home, I dreaded my mom's reaction. Not my dad's, even though he had, by a factor of about a thousand, a much more wicked temper. It was the fact that my mom would be disappointed that had me in tears. From my grandparent's stories, she'd been a perfect child, never gotten in trouble, always respectful. Clearly, this apple had landed nowhere near the tree.
She tried to keep a stern face as I sobbed out what had happened, but it only lasted for a few seconds and then she laughed and hugged me. Turns out she'd also been sent to the office once, for joining a group of girls who were singing a mean song about the gym teacher. And she'd also cried all the way home, worried that her mom would be disappointed.
Cameras are evil. In almost every candid photograph ever taken of me, my eyes are closed, my mouth is open, or I look like someone has just jabbed me with a cattle prod. My mom is the same way, which doubles the odds of a photographic disaster if we're both in the same shot. So both of us avoid cameras. My solution is to take the pictures so that I'm not in them. Her solution is to run away or hide her face with her hand. End result? I can't find a single shot with both of us in it, something I'll have to fix next time I visit.