Sunday, October 21, 2007

Motherhood Karma

Published October 21, 2007
St. George Spectrum & Daily News

I have this story about my mom that I like to tell from time to time. My younger sister, Carla, and I lovingly refer to it as "the day Mom had a nervous breakdown over fish sticks." Just writing that has caused me to giggle uncontrollably for the past 15 minutes.

The story in a nutshell: Mom was having a bad day. We were having fish sticks. My dad, Carla, and I decided to amuse ourselves by first stealing fish sticks off of each other's plates and then tossing fish sticks across the table at each other. Mom's bad day was compounded by her annoyance at our behavior and she finally let out a very, very frustrated, "If I see one more fish stick fly through the air..." We considered that for about two seconds. With a mischievous look, my dad sent a fish stick sailing across the table. It smacked Mom squarely on the nose and landed on her plate. The rest is nervous breakdown history, and Carla and I have been telling the story, to uproarious laughter, ever since.

I thought about this last week when, after four hours of trying to get my daughters to clean their room, a mischievously dropped toy was enough to send me over the edge and make a little nervous breakdown history of my own. It was when I crossed the "someday, you'll have kids and they're going to be just like you," threshold (made it almost eleven years without saying that...give me a cookie) that I realized fish stick+toy=Karma. They've probably already started recounting the story to their friends, giggling uncontrollably each time.

Suddenly, I'm remembering every little thing I ever did and hoping the Motherhood Karma Monster will soon develop some kind of advanced memory loss. If I'm in for everything i gave my mom...well, let's just say I don't think I'm cut out for this.

What if I confess? Is there some form of Karmic absolution available for the truly penitent? I know I'm mixing religions here, but it's worth a shot, right?

-Mom, do you remember that day someone used your curling iron without permission, no one would confess, and you narrowed it down to Gina or me? That was me. Really sorry.

-Mom, when you told me you wanted me to wait and practice a little longer before getting my driver's license, I just had my friend, David, take me to the DMV.

-Mom, I intentionally swept the kitchen floor badly so you would get frustrated, come in and "demonstrate," and finish my chore for me.

-Mom, I was the second gunman on the grassy knoll. (Okay, that's not true, but didn't the thought of it being true make all that other stuff pale in comparison?)

Maybe what I'm trying to do is similar to a deathbed confession...too little, too late. Apparently, the time for producing obedient children happened during my own childhood, and I seriously mucked that up. Of course, if we think this through we'll realize I was only disobedient because MY mom was disobedient as a kid and needed some Karmic retribution of her own, so it's really not my fault at all.

I think my mom deserves a fish stick to the nose for that...