Tuesday, July 16, 2013

you are your mother

Life is funny sometimes.  You're a kid, glaring at your mom, swearing up and down you're going to be nothing like her when you're her age.  You're going to be way cooler and so much more put together.  You're not going to do awful and embarrassing shit to your kids if you have them.

And then you wake up and your 27 years old.  And you are your mother.  It happens so slowly, so gradually, you don't even realize at first.  But you are your mother.

You're choosing from 50 similar shades of pale-to-medium pink/fuchsia nail polish even though you would always say "Mom! Christ, is this the only color of nail polish you own?"

You're defending yourself when people ask you harmless questions.
"Is that a new skirt, Jenna?"
"No, why?  Should I have worn a new skirt?  Is this dinner supposed to be fancy?  WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME?" 

You are sitting in a restaurant, asking the person across from you if you have anything in your teeth, and if they say yes you are remaining at that table, trying to get the broccoli or gummy candy out of your molars using your pinky finger.  You're not going to the bathroom to do this in private like you swore you would ten years ago.  You're taking care of your business right there in front of the whole restaurant.

When I was in middle school, to get to the bus stop I had to walk about 0.2 miles from my house to the top of a hill.  I was often joined by 3 or 4 of my neighbors and friends who were all about my age.  I had to be at the bus stop by 6:50 am because something is seriously wrong with the school system in this country that makes kids get up that goddamn early.  During the wintertime that often meant it was dark and foggy when I stood there in the morning.  While I was there, my mom was always at home, getting ready for work.  Running around upstairs in her pantyhose.  Slip on, curlers in her hair, Fruit of the Loom underwear pulled up just below her breasts.  Panicking, assuming I was at the bus stop by myself, thinking of all the terrible things that could be happening to me while she was putting on her foundation in the bathroom.

I stood at the top of the hill, at the bus stop with my neighbors, trying my best to be a cool middle school kid, which was all but impossible for a middle school kid.  I was in my wide leg jeans and Airwalks, it was still kind of dark, the sun had barely come up and it was foggy, I couldn't even see my house from where I was standing.  But through the fog, I heard a voice.


I knew exactly where it was coming from and exactly who it was.  And one of my neighbors asked, "is that your mom?"

She yelled again, from her second story bedroom window that faced the bus stop, this time more desperate, "Jeeeeeeeeeennnnnnnnnaaaaaaaaaaaaa????"

"....yes.  That's my mom."  I responded to my neighbor quietly.   "MOM I'M HEEERREEEEE!!!!"  I called back to her, mortified.

"Okaaaaaaaaaaaayyyy!!" a voice called back from the fog.

I know now that she was just worried.  I know that she loved me and didn't want me to be scooped up by a hillbilly volunteer firefighter or eaten by a fog monster.  But that took time to learn.

If I have a daughter, I know that that will be me screaming from that bedroom window.  Just Quit Tryin Fuschia painted on my nails, gummy candy in my teeth.  And my daughter will curse me under her breath and yell back "MOM I'M HEEEEEEEEERRREEE."  

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