The Writing Mamas Daily Blog

Each day on the Writing Mamas Daily Blog, a different member will write about mothering.

If you're a mom then you've said these words, you've made these observations and you've lived these situations - 24/7.

And for that, you are a goddess.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Quick Chat

I have this neighbor friend who I meet on the sidewalk for a quick chat every couple of days or so.

She is petite with a theatrical flair, and a wicked sense of humor. She has two kids younger than mine, but just as demanding—smart, high energy, creative. I love hearing her stories because it makes me happy that my kids have outgrown that phase. She loves hearing mine, because it reassures her to know there is an end—there is life on the other side.

Today we were talking about how our parents were clueless. Most of my generation feels this way. We are, all of us, aggrieved that our parents were not better at it.

“That’s why there are so many parenting books out now,” said Hillary in her striped poncho.

“Because our parents punted?” I asked.

“Well, because we knew that they weren’t doing it right, but we have no idea how to do it differently,” Hillary replied.

I thought it was because our generation and our culture were obsessed with doing it all correctly. Also, because we are reacting to our parent’s obsession with sucking it up.

I mentioned this to Hillary, and she had a brain storm. Standing in the gutter, pulled sideways by her dog on her leash, she started waving her arms.

“Oh, Oh! I had the best moment of parent revenge ever! I thought the day would never come!”

“Do you mean the kind where your parents look at you with an evil smirk when your toddler covers the dishes in Vaseline, and they say; ‘Now you know what we went through?’” I said.

“No, that sucks,” she said brushing her long bangs out of her eyes and giggling. “When I was thirteen, and I still remember this! I dropped my double scoop ice cream cone on the ground. AND MY PARENTS WOULDN’T LET ME EAT IT.”

“I know! That happened to me, too! They wouldn’t buy you another one either would they?” I asked gleefully horrified.

“NO!” she howled. “They told me that I had to DEAL with it. It would build character! I still remember!” She was amused and indignant and still shaking her finger even as her dog was pulling her backwards.

“I know! We had to suck it up! We didn’t get any sympathy!” The sun was setting, and the day was a little chilly, but we were having too much fun, standing in the gutter reviling our parents, to go inside.

“Well, Lucy, my three-year old, had an ice cream fall to the ground the other day,” said Hillary, “and do you know what I did?”


“I let her eat it.”

We stood there for a moment, allowing it -- that act -- to sink in, and thinking about how we would have felt if our parents had been so kind. I wasn’t sure I could have risen above the scripted response, “You can’t eat that! It’s dirty!” and found a gentler solution.

I was inspired.

I was also thinking logistically how to pick up ice cream while holding your own cone, and the baby and the baby’s cone, while the toddler is screaming, and has thrown herself on the floor, in the pathway of pedestrians while you have only one napkin and maybe a plastic spoon—all this without getting germs.

Hillary said, “That was a great moment. I can now let go of my resentment and move on.” She mimed throwing something away and made a whooshing noise.


“So doing that for Lucy was like a Band-Aid. Right? You were healing yourself?” We thought about that for a moment.

“Are you healed?” I asked in my best Southern Baptist voice. I know it because my grandmother was a Southern Baptist.

“I am healed,” she said laughing.

“Did you see God?” I whispered, leaning in conspiratorially.

She beamed at me, “I did. And you know what? She was eating ice cream.”

By Liana McSwain


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Fun, fun, fun! what a fun piece and so deftly written! Laura-Lynne Powell
Life is a struggle with two boys. Believe me, I know I have boys myself. People don't really understand that if they have just girls or even a boy and a girl. It is that whole competition thing. As for the ice cream, I will say what my neighbor from New Jersey says in his accent,"Forget about it!" Now that is funny. Have a good one.
---Writing Mama from Las Vegas..
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