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Gee. Thanks, Mom

May 05, 2016 12:20PM ● Published by Bryan Scott

By Peri Kinder

From the moment I was born, my mom looked for ways to make my life miserable. Admittedly, I don’t remember anything before the age of 4, but I’m sure her pattern of behavior extended back to my birth.

For instance, my mom insisted I play with my little sister, even though my little sister was a demon who wailed like a banshee whenever I pinched her. Mom had this harebrained scheme that being forced to play with my siblings would make us friends. (Okay, she was right on that one. My siblings are pretty cool.) 

But here’s another example of my mom’s ruthless conduct. After school I could only watch TV for ONE HOUR. That’s all. Once my 60 minutes of Zoom and School House Rock was over, I had to engage my mind with something “enlightening.” 

Mom would force me to listen to classical music or make me memorize a poem she taped on the fridge. (I still randomly recite “The Highwayman.”) And there were books she required me to read like “Jane Eyre” or the Nancy Drew series. She even made me write book reports. 

“But it’s Saturday! School’s over!” I exclaimed when she handed me the illustrated book of Shakespeare.

“Learning is never over,” she’d reply. 

Now I can’t go anywhere without a book. Gee. Thanks, mom. 

When Atari hit the market, mom made it perfectly clear we would not be getting a game console. She told me video games would rot my brain, then she had the nerve to send me OUTSIDE where I had to resort to bike riding, playing baseball in the street or shooting hoops with the neighbors. (Eventually she caved and bought a game system, but even then there were strict usage guidelines.)

Mom was a homework Nazi. She’d drill me on times tables (which I still hate) and spelling (which I admit comes in handy at times) and she insisted on attending every single parent teacher conference, just to embarrass me. 

Attendance at dinner was mandatory. Mom had read somewhere that family dinner time was vastly important and would lead to the decline of society if families didn’t eat their meatloaf together. She force fed me vegetables from her garden, peaches from her tree and raspberries from the bushes in the backyard.

And there was no fluffy Wonder Bread for my lunches. Instead, I had to consume peanut butter sandwiches made with home-baked bread that was denser than granite, but kept me full for several days. It doubled as a blunt object if a boy was chasing me at recess.

When it came to dessert, she was heartless. Even though I begged her to purchase Oreo cookies or Chips Ahoy (because no one else in the universe had to gag down homemade chocolate chip, oatmeal or gingersnap cookies), she would only buy them on special occasions. Like never. 

But the final straw was when she rolled pink, spongy curlers into my long hair every Saturday night so I’d have ringlets for church. Before she added a curler, she’d dip a comb in water and run it through my hair, dripping ice-cold water down my back. And in the morning, removing those curlers was akin to being scalped. 

As Mother’s Day approaches, I grudgingly acknowledge that once in a while my mom probably wasn’t trying to make my life miserable. But for all her nefarious efforts, all I learned from her was to love my family, enjoy learning, get outside, eat real cookies and get dressed up for special occasions. Gee. Thanks, Mom.  

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