Since it's Mother's Day, I'd like to thank you for giving me a good start in life, and for always being there for me while I haphazardly tried to undo your deft handiwork as a grown-up. Of course, you gave me the genes for this life, including this organic rebellious streak and stubbornness. Of that, I am betting you will accept ownership. There is much of your nurture involved in my nature. You know what I'm saying, right? Of course you do. Self-awareness and acceptance of who you are is a prominent shared trait.
I am reminded of the moment I discovered you were a real person, and not just an infallible, mythical creature who regularly wielded the last word and tried to coerce me into liking every ugly dress you held up for me in every department store we ever went into. It was when I was about ten and I saw for the first time a family movie -- a soundless reel-to-reel recording of our life -- played in a room full of siblings and relatives. It's so vivid in my mind. The camera panned over to you, wearing your circa 1965 sleeveless dress and short, dark, flipped-ends hair-do, and red, red lips, from which you mouthed very sweetly: Fuck you. I liked that side of you, and I decided you could be as cool as my dad after all. Heh, heh. It's the little things. Even though you didn't always understand me, you accepted me as I am. I love you for that too.
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Dear Moms Who Are My Daughters,
Since it's Mother's Day, I am proud to say I raised you right, but, um, I guess I could have done a better job in some areas. Like the Nutty Professor, I sometimes failed to predict the results of experimental formulas until surprising results spewed out of my maternal test tubes in a suspicious green haze.
Case in point: The summer night when all four of you were still teenagers, and I kept yelling downstairs, demanding quiet so I could go to sleep and get up for work the next day. I'd have gotten up and walked down there to let you see the ire in my eyes, but I was naked under the covers and not inclined to leave the comfort of my bed. However, you all dissed my edicts repeatedly, until I was so mad, not even my nudity, grogginess, or dignity would keep me from letting you know it. This, I determined, was going to turn out badly for you. You would all have to go to bed now, and transform from inconsiderate, self-centered, hormone-flooded little bitches into the blissfully quiet angels I dreamed of before I actually had children.
In my mind, I saw myself stopping at the halfway point on the staircase, where the top steps were hidden behind a wall, and I would then peel the skin off your hides with my threatening proximity and the severity of my tongue lashing. Oh, you were so going to get it! So off I went, stomping down the stairs, grumbling and gearing up for the meteoric grilling, when my foot slipped on a well-worn spot in the carpet. Upended like a light switch in the "on" position, I landed on my butt on the stairs and bounced, one by one, to the bottom, planting my wobbly bits on the hard chill of foyer tile. Out in the open.
I stood up in the soundlessness that washed over my nakedness, like a deer with headlights, and jabbed one rigid finger in the air at each of you bad, bad, bad, BAD seeds. The words began spewing at high velocity from my mouth, accompanied by giggles I could hardly control because your faces revealed your shock and awe at my unorthodox entrance. In fact, with your eyes trained on the full wrath of your mother's naked effort to make believers out of you, you were speechless. Exactly the sort of golden silence I'd hoped for.
I think I've made my point here. Learn this from my mistakes, daughter mommies of mine: In matters of discipline, always wear pajamas to bed, just in case you need to get up and kick some kidlet ass!
Even though I don't always understand you, I accept you as you are. And even though you don't always understand me either, I hope you try. I love you, my precious beauties.