Writer’s Workshop: A Mom Fail

Obviously, lacking the necessary plumbing, I am not a mother. However, I had a mother who I loved very much, who I think about every day, and wish I could talk to (face to face) just one more time. She died on Good Friday, 2000, which is an interesting coincidence, because she was born on Holy Saturday, 1932.

Dad, me, and Mom, sometime in the early 60’s. Cute little bastard, wasn’t I? (photo by Fabulous Auntie Jill)

One Saturday afternoon, my brother Kip and I were having one of those arguments that brothers have on occasion, and I go so frustrated or angry or whatever that I grabbed one of his coin-collecting folders and tossed it out the back door.

Kip immediately yelled for Mom, who came out, and after he told her what I had done, she raised her hand to slap me. I didn’t want to get slapped, so as she swung, I put my elbow up and blocked her. The slap that was intended for my face landed, with some force, on my bony elbow. Now she was in pain, and really angry, and decided to kick me in the shin. Unfortunately for her, she was wearing tennis shoes, and while her kick hurt, it hurt her more.

Not wishing to injure herself further, she ordered me to go out in the yard and pick up Kip’s coin folder, and limped away. She ended up with a bruise on her hand that took a week to heal and limped a little for a few days after that. Meanwhile, Kip and I had a laugh at her expense. Whatever we were skirmishing about had been forgotten.

I’m sure he’ll have something to say about this now…

24 thoughts on “Writer’s Workshop: A Mom Fail

  1. Ouch! My mom would have spanked me on my bottom after commanding me to go out and get the coin collection and apologize. I so wish I could talk to my mom, I really need her and wish she were here.

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  2. Thanks for the shout out, John! As a true little brother, I did not remember being any part of this little drama beyond observer. Thank you for reminding me that I played some small role in this.

    I do remember being part of the famous “shut up” argument, where Mom heard you shouting at me in the front yard. She called you over to the front door and chastised you for yelling like “some sort of shanty Irishman!” When you began to protest, she screamed “Shut up!”
    Perhaps Mom’s greatest quality was the ability to laugh at herself and share these stories unabashedly.

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  3. John,

    Slapping a child does hurt Mom (or in your case kicked) more than the child. It’s so frustrating sometimes for moms, especially when the kid gets too big to paddle. Those were the days when parents weren’t thought of as abusive. I got slapped a time or two but I always had the utmost respect for my mom and never thought she was mean. I knew I deserved what I got. Good story. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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    1. We had a lot of respect for my mother, because for the longest time she was the sole means of support and taught at one of the nastier of the Chicago Public Schools to support us. She wasn’t about to put up with a lot out of us, despite the fact that the three of us were inveterate smartasses…

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  4. Your mom would be proud to read you’ve never outgrown clowning around or never lost your sense of humor!! Fun post!

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  5. Hi John – yes the truth of a hurt … yet of course we all forget these skirmishes … but Mums, Dads and siblings are good for a laugh at times … she did pick her time to be born and then to die … – have a happy weekend … Hilary

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  6. I wonder if every mother experiences that moment of realizing your kid is getting too strong and smart for you. I remember trying to chase Kainoa down and realized that I looked like an idiot. He was too fast and basically running circles around me. Pretty sure he was 4 years old.

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