Today is mother’s day. Now, while I may not be as close to my mother physically or emotionally, I have to remember the good days.
The days she made me write out Bible verses so I’d memorize them.
The days she sacrificed herself so that I could have a great childhood.
Those are the days.
I’m going to repost something I’ve probably posted. It’s a part of my book.
Getting kicked out of public school wasn’t the worst thing that happened that year. Before the iPhone, iMac, iPods, and i-everything, there was the basic Apple desktop computer. It was off white, well, more like yellow white like my grandmother’s teeth. It had a roleyball mouse that my brother and I used to hide from each other thus hindering one another from playing on the computer. I loved playing this game called “Math Blaster.” The game allowed you to use a space man to blast numbers and equations out of the stratosphere. I think I just liked blowing things up specifically things I hated, like math.
The summer of 1999 was such an odd one at best. It was the first summer I went with my mom to cleaning jobs and she taught me to clean. Now, I am thankful that my mother properly taught me to vacuum properly and how to efficiently clean a toilet without splashing bleach. However, this was also the summer I would get my mother fired from a job… and it wasn’t the first time.
My mom had a bunch of clients in her business. Most were multi-millionares with huge houses, boats, and sometimes, really nice pool houses. During the summer months, my brother and I went along with her. I hated it. I wanted to stay home, sleep in late, watch TV, and eat all the ice cream in the house. I wanted to go out with friends or play with the dog. Heck, I even desired to do homework as an alternative to working with my mother. It’s not that I hated her; I simply hated cleaning THAT much.
Well, my mom was cleaning a boat in the harbor. My brother is 2 and half years younger than I am, but he always got his way. As a result, I got blamed for EVERY BAD DOING he did because well, I would have done them since I was the kid that got kicked out of public school, not him.
That day, my mother gave me the task of vacuuming the boat’s stairs and dusting the deck. This wasn’t a speed boat or some James Bond getaway life boat. No, this was a boat bigger than my bedroom with multiple floors and indoor plumbing. I am still convinced the windows are made of diamonds and it went invisible when you wanted it. After I had dusted all the surfaces and play fighting with my brother on the plush sofa set in the upper room, I knew I had to vacuum. It was my last chore and then, I would be done. My brother had the task of cleaning the bathrooms and was avoiding it. He often took advantage of the fact that I was so naive and believed every word he said.
Right on cue, my brother some how convinced me to go into the bathroom he was working on to “check his work.” I took this as a mighty responsibility until I turned around and my brother sprayed me with bleach on my brand-new blue shorts. Right on clue, my anger thermostat went from calm and cool to raging hot. I was pissed.
I threw my body against his. I was 5’2″ and 98 lbs and well, he was in 3rd grade and sort of a shrimp. As I tackled him to the ground, I recall myself hitting him in the face with a sponge and telling him that the Lord does not forgive those who trick others. (This is not in the Bible, I don’t think… and I’ve had to read it a few times over.)
This must have offended him as he pulled a reverse tackle and told me I was Al Gore’s personal butt wiper. It was then that I began to cry. Anyone would have cried. I think even Hulk Hogan would have cried because that is such a terrible occupation to even be ASSOCIATED with.
The rage came back and before I knew it, an attachment of the vacuum had come off so I threw it at him. I missed. My awkward 11 year old body some how managed to throw the piece passed my brothers face, hit something on the shelf, and plummeted both the object and the vacuum attachment into the harbor.
I instantly felt like I just committed treason or an act worth the firing squad. I think my brother did too because he got off me quickly and locked himself in the bathroom. And there I lay on the floor: tear stained, sweaty, shamed, speckled white and blue pants due to bleach, and the unresting urge to pray REALLY hard.
So I prayed, and my mom came into the room. She took one look at me and knew the whole story. It was like she was in the room while it happened. The thing about moms is that they never tell you that you’ve just fucked up really bad. No, they grab you, hug you, and remind you that there is always next time. There IS always a next time, but not this time. Within twenty minutes, my mother called her employer (using her awesome flip phone cellphone) and explained the situation. As my mother began to cry, I realized what my mother was doing. She was paying the price for her careless 11 year old’s mistake. She was taking fault. She was taking blame. She was putting her name on my sin.
As we walked back to the car with all the equipment, minus the attachment, my mom took us to Dairy Queen. Initially, I wasn’t going to get anything. I didn’t deserve it. I knew I didn’t. I did the crime and my mom paid the time. But, no one, not even a murder could deny Dairy Queen. So, I settled for a vanilla cone dipped in chocolate. Hey, I got vanilla. That was my punishment.
On the way home, I heard this song by Vertical Horizon called “Everything You Want.” And in that moment, that song described my life. It described my day. And that was a bad very terrible weird day.