thanks for not stabbing grandma

Growing up, my mom repeated the same things on a regular basis:
  • Stop trying to poke your brother in the eye with a fork.
  • Clean that spill up. You think I can’t see it under your father’s paper?
  • Wear dark clothing when you play outside. It’s a bitch to get blood out of light colors.

Those words still circle my thoughts once in a while, but the thing that probably left the biggest impression on me was something she said only once, very quietly, with a hard and ugly look in her eyes- “You better get the first aid kit ready. I’m about to stab your grandma.”

I didn’t believe her. She didn’t even have the balls to pull a loose tooth out of my mouth, so it wasn’t likely she was going to be shanking anyone with a butter knife. But, I went in search of the first aid kit. Just in case.

The potential victim was her mother-in-law, a woman we rarely saw because she lived overseas. Granny had come to visit because she wanted to connect with her American grandchildren. The original plan was to stay for two weeks. I saw a little twitch in my mom’s eye when my dad first mentioned it, but she didn’t say a word. When Granny extended her trip for four more weeks, I saw a small tear roll down my mom’s cheek. Still, she didn’t say a word.

When Granny criticized my mom’s cooking? Not a wayward glance. When Granny asked my dad if he still thought about that lovely girl from middle school? Not a single peep. When Granny asked my mom when she was going to lose all the baby weight since she hadn’t been pregnant for more than eight years? Not even a frown.

During the sixth week of her visit, Granny decided to borrow my mom’s best loafers, the ones she only wore to church or to a funeral, to take a stroll through the neighborhood. She stepped in a pile of dog shit. Instead of cleaning them, she abandoned them in the garbage can at our curb and yelled for my mom to bring her another pair of shoes so she wouldn’t have to walk through the yard barefoot.

That’s when she threatened to stab Granny. Any in-yard violence was sure to get us kicked off the neighborhood block party roster, but I understood. Shit needed to be settled. Woman to woman. Instead, my mom helped my grandma inside. My mom’s patience and compassion left an impression on me that day. But a knife fight would still have been awesome.

In-law troubles? Witnessed bad in-law behavior?P.S. If you’d like to link to your website/blog please click the “Optional: Link to your website” line under the “Guest” option and fill in your information. Thanks, yo.

image via

Thinking of You

Dear Child of Mine,

I sent you to middle school on Tuesday and yesterday I turned thirty. Doesn’t it usually happen the other way around?

I love you. I know it’s my obligation as a parent to say that, but I’m saying it right now just because I want to do it, and not because I have to do it.

I feel like we’ve grown up together. A lot of times, you were the one that was more mature, more patient, and more understanding. You’ve know all along that not everything has to be perfect, you sensed that what isn’t perfect can still be right. I’m still learning that.

Thanks for being so happy. Most mornings, as soon as you wake up, you are singing and humming. Everything makes you laugh. You think my jokes are funny. You eat what I cook, and pretend that it’s tasty.

I want to make you proud. One day, when you’re older, you’ll roll your eyes at me and think that I don’t understand, but secretly, I hope you’ll still be proud of me. I want to set a good example for you. I want to show you how easy it is to enjoy all the little adventures in life. So many people feel guilty about being happy and think that true happiness can only come if you work really, really hard to get it. They waste all their todays waiting for the tomorrows. They think that happiness only occurs on exotic trips or romantic restaurants or a front row seat in a stadium.

I’m guilty of these things, too.

I told you about my project. I kept it simple when I explained it to you. So this is what you understand-that Mommy isn’t shopping for a whole year and doing other things. Every day, as you see me face a challenge and defeat it, I want you to realize that you can do anything you want to do, too.

I think you are absolutely fabulous.

Your mother