My mom is so scatterbrained. I come by it honestly.
My mom is capable of focusing her attention on exactly one thing at any given time. You never know if it’s going to be you or something else. And she gets distracted really easily.
We caught on to this early and decided to make it work in our favor.
We want popsicles. We ask Mom about fifty thousand times if we can have popsicles. Mom says no, and that if we ask again we’ll never have another popsicle as long as we live.
The phone rings. We watch and wait.
When we feel that Mom has become solidly engrossed in her phone conversation, we tiptoe to the freezer. Without a word we hand her the popsicle in its white wrapper.
She absent-mindedly unwraps it, snaps the twin pop in half, and hands half to each of us.
A few minutes later she’ll finish her phone conversation and hang up, only to find us standing there grinning like evil little monkeys, with red or purple (never orange) popsicle melt clinging to our faces and hands.
“I thought I said no popsicles!” she’ll yell.
“You gave it to us!” we’ll reply with all the injured melodrama of the wrongfully accused.
But then finally, being a mom, she wised up and made a rule that we weren’t allowed to disturb her at all when she was on the phone, unless one of us was
- a) missing a limb; or
- b) bleeding to death.
These two rules became the cardinal rules of our household. No tattling unless one of the two conditions was in place. No waking parents up in the middle of the night unless one of the two conditions was in place.
Sometimes she’ll still ask us that today.
“Mom, I feel like crap.”
“Are you missing a limb?”
“Are you bleeding to death?”
“Then you’re fine. Take some Advil.”
My mom was twenty-five years old in that first picture yesterday. I’m almost twenty-four and cannot imagine raising a child without accidentally leaving it at the grocery store one day and forgetting all about it, like some people do with jugs of milk. (Actually, Mom did that this weekend, come to think of it. Heh.) I’m shocked and impressed that she managed to raise us with minimal incidents at that age.
Oh, the woman in the other picture is my aunt, by the way. She’s really short.