My oldest daughter, the Scribe, is twelve AND we're starting to have some problems . . . with my attitude.
We got into some stupid conversation about why she can't dress like Madonna. "What is that shirt?" I asked. "It's so bright, you might as well go guide traffic on 5th and Main!"
"But, Mom, THIS is in style! I. Am. Fashionable. You--on the other hand--have no style. And sometimes . . . I hate it."
Did she just say "HATE"? I felt like I'd swallowed a grenade. She'd pulled the pin and soon the sucker would explode in my belly.
My face puckered. I took a breath--hoping the grenade wouldn't really detonate.
5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . I silently counted.
By this point, my face must've reddened so that my daughter saw it through her gorgeous, tinted glasses. "Oh . . .crap," she mouthed in slow-motion, sliding her glasses down her nose.
"Oh! Mom . . . I'm sorry. YOU are stylish. You are. Mom, it's YOU." The Scribe back-peddled--like a freakin' unicyclist in the circus--but the truth had already come out, and that's what set my anger free.
Her words meant nothing, and I suddenly started saying things I swore I'd never repeat. You know--the things people say to you when you're a kid.
"Scribe!" I barked. "I was in labor with you for twenty-seven hours! The doctor wanted me to have medicine before I pushed you out! But nooooo. Would I have the epidural? No-ooo way! I sat through those raging contractions--feeling like I'd die, or worse, have a bowel movement." Her face turned white. "You wanna know why I didn't have the pain meds?"
She shook her head, practically begging me to stop.
"Oh--I'll tell you why. Because I love you. I didn't want you to have any of that medicine in your infant body. So I did squats by the bed. I walked around the hospital. I even put on makeup between contractions--so I'd look pretty for you when you came out! And now you're saying the "hate" word?"
"Did you mean to say it like that? The "hate" word?" she asked.
I knew it had sounded lame, but I wasn't gonna admit it. So I folded my arms and gave her the mom face called you-flippin'-heard-me-the-first-time/wrap-your-head-around-that!
"And giving birth to me??? That has nothing to do with style!"
"Pfft! I'm the reason you know about style. I helped bring you into this world. I did that for you, and now you're gonna treat me like this? Say you hate something . . . about me."
"Mom." She frowned. "I'm sorry. Really, I am."
THANK GOD for labor! She actually apologized. It may suck pushing a kid out of YOUR BUTT, but it gives moms ammo to make kids remorseful! If babies came from a freakin' stork, I would have NOTHING to say. "Be nice--to me. Because that stork worked really hard bringing you here." Meh. NOPE. It was me. And the guilt-trip worked.
Later that night, I heard her talking on the phone to a friend. "I love my mom," she said, "but she was saying the weirdest stuff today. I swear, if I ever have kids, I'll never say things like that to them!"
I had to smile. Let the circle of life continue.