Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Other Side of Mommie Dearest

Hadn't checked my Facebook messages for the past 2 weeks. Tonight, from the cousin I was closest to while growing up, but whom I haven't seen for over 30 years:

"...Do you remember me coming to stay with you when I was 4 ?? All the good things I did for my son, Nick, while he was growing up, I learned in that short time from Aunt C--------."

"Aunt C" is my mom. And, no, I don't at all remember my cousin coming to stay with us then. (When she was 4, I would have been 3. We would have been living in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1968.)

Despite my ongoing problems with my mother, I felt happy to read my cousin's message. But also kind of amazed, as in, "Really? ALL the good things you did for your son you learned from MY mother when you were 4??"

What-the-hell kind of kindness/profound life lessons was my mother dishing out behind my back way back in '68?? :)

I do admire my mother for her orderliness. And for reading to me and teaching me things like "The Pledge of Allegiance" when I was pre-Kindergarten. And for making sure I looked neat (which was always commented on).  I was a darn smart, well-groomed little kid.

I also admire the fact that when she led our Girl Scout troop when I was 8, she made sure the one little black girl in our troop wasn't left out when it came time to making our "tin-can faces." (Don't laugh -- this was actually an issue! What color should the faces be?! Most Girl-Scout troops in suburban Texas in the early '70s hadn't ever faced this "problem"!) My mother's solution: A Girl-Scout GREEN for all the tin-can faces! YES!

Still, I'm still stymied: What in the world was my cousin so moved by at age 4 by my
mother that it later influenced the upbringing of her own son?? "All the good things I did for my son, Nick, while he was growing up, I learned in that short time from Aunt C--------." That's pretty profound.

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8/12 Update, after asking my mom over the weekend what in the hell she might have done that was so inspiring: ... She doesn't remember anything "inspirational" at all! She remembers me and my cousin, at ages 3 and 4, not getting along, me not wanting to share my things with my cousin, my cousin constantly whining and telling on me. My mom wanting both of us to shut up! :) 

So... I'm STILL wondering what in the world it was about my mother in 1968 that inspired my cousin to raise her son based on ONE WEEK away from home that apparently consisted mainly of two little bratty girls bickering! :)

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