A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Why, yes, it IS my job.

Darling PreTeenDaughter:

Since you asked, yes, I AM the "meanest" mother of all your friends' mothers. As you can see, this doesn't bother me. Not because I am mean. Because I love you. That doesn't mean that you have to be thrilled about every decision I make.

Yes, that embarrasses you. But not as much as if I walked around in public with my finger up my nose to the first knuckle, or wearing a muumuu with sandals and hairy legs, or with dirty hair and a cigarette hanging from my lip.

You will NOT wear the word "Juicy" across your behind-- temporarily or permanently.
You WILL ingest protein of some kind each day.
You will NOT raise your voice to your parents in public-- and even when you do it in private, there will be consequences.
You WILL read before you get to watch TV.

But even after your litany of complaints, my darling, and of snapping your head back and expelling disgusted gusts of air heavenward until you have affected global warming, and flouncing and stamping hard enough to register on a seismograph, even after you've ruined my favorite mukluks* because you now can wear my shoes(!), you may still drape your lissome little arms around my neck in public and put your weight on my aching back and purr "Mommmmmmy!"

And I will smile my secret smile and not tweak you for your mood swings.

Because loving you is my job. When you like it, and even when you don't.

* From Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse

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10 Comments:

At 3/14/08, 5:26 AM, Blogger cupcake said...

As the mother of a preteen son and 10-year-old son and daughter, I doff my wig. Your letter shines with brilliance.

I tell my older son (what feels like every day) that my job is to embarrass him with my rules and affection. You can imagine how delighted he is by that concept.

 
At 3/14/08, 7:51 AM, Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

Amen, Mama! I've got an 11-year-old daughter, and this sounds SO familiar to me...

 
At 3/14/08, 8:59 AM, Anonymous Betty said...

As the mother of adult children, let me tell you that it does pay off to stand tough on your expectations. We laugh about some of our past experiences now, but all three kids turned out great.

 
At 3/14/08, 7:59 PM, Blogger CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

If all my students' moms were like you, what a bunch of great kids I'd have to work with every day!

 
At 3/14/08, 11:24 PM, Blogger "Ms. Cornelius" said...

I just don't know if I will survive this and still be sane at the end of the tunnel....

 
At 3/15/08, 3:09 PM, Blogger Rita said...

Oh dear, I'm sooooo right with you. I have a 12-year-old who is also wearing my shoes.

 
At 3/15/08, 7:23 PM, Blogger Mrs. Bluebird said...

I have cats.

That being said, I totally understand what you're going through. As a seventh grade teacher I have a number of students (and former students) who have appointed me as their "other mom". They don't always like what I have to say, but they keep coming back.

However, I do get to go home and leave them behind...although they are never far from my thoughts. However, that's one of the reason I got into teaching - with no children of my own I figured I could help out kids who needed an adult in their lives.

 
At 3/17/08, 3:26 PM, Anonymous yo miss!, formerly in bushwick said...

I'll stand up and be counted as a youngster (now a teacher) who is deeply grateful for my parents' "dumb" rules, "eternal" groundings, and insistence that school be my first priority.

When she is a grown-up, she will appreciate it too.

(I love you, Mom and Daddy.)

 
At 3/21/08, 1:41 PM, Blogger Obi's Sister said...

Wait, I thought I was the meanest mom ever to walk this earth!!!!!!

 
At 3/25/08, 6:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh no, it's me. :-) My 8, 11 and 12-year olds have known it for years already. It makes it easier for them to use me as an excuse when their 'friends' want them to do something dangerous or wrong. "My mom would KILL me if I did that. No way. Uh-uh."

 

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