Monday, October 09, 2006

Once Upon a Time...

My kids love to hear stories about when they were babies, or when they were born. We sit around the dinner table at night and they ask, Momma Sara, Momma Sara, tell us about when Jake was born and how he was bungy jumping on the umbilical cord. Or, tell us a funny story from when we were toddlers.

In our baby group, now moms group (as they are no longer babies and we are still moms), I have had all the kids rolling with laughter about when they were little. Like the time one of the moms and I fed one little girl grapes, uncut, for the first time. And the little girl's mother's horror at our action.

We didn’t know it was the first time. The kid was three!

What can I say… if there was a comedy circuit for the eleven and under set, I’d be famous.

Over and over, my kids, the moms group kids, all ask for me to tell stories. About themselves. About each other. No one kid is ever made fun of, only parents, including myself, who are usually made out to be clueless oafs. Or crazy- that’s pretty much saved for the birth, pre-epidural moments.

Tonight, my boys asked me to tell them stories about Aunt Cathy, my sister, and I when we were little. They loved being with her this weekend.

I felt tears come to my eyes.

I can’t think of any. Not fun ones. Not ones that I can tell.

Of course, my sister and I were laughing hysterically today on the phone recalling who had the worst time living with mom alone- I spend two years after my brother had left for college and my sister had been thrown out. Every night was a slow march up the stairs with my mother choosing between coming in my room or going to her own. I would listen to the ice in her glass and hope she would turn the other way.

My sister bounced, while I was away in college, between an abusive, alcoholic boyfriend and my abusive, alcoholic mother.

I can’t rip carpet up unless it’s four AM, my sister laughs, and I have a gin and tonic in my hand!

You! You weren’t there every night for two years, with nowhere to go.

Yeah, I could choose between my boyfriend’s abuse or mom’s!

And we laugh and laugh. We have to. It has to be funny. My wife cringes when we go on these rants. It’s so hard to hear, she says.

C’mon, Mom, you have to have one story…

All the stories I could tell about Aunt Cathy and I are… well, they’re for when you’re older.

Were you that explicit? Ben asked. He loves explicit labels on iTunes.

Uh… not really explicit but we did swear a lot.

Aunt Cathy used to sneak cookies, Zach smiles. She told me she was the master.

She was. My sister was forbidden to have any food that was not on her very specific diet. As a toddler, she was given skim milk. Too fat, my mother always said. My sister was a big boned, strong girl. My mother was six foot tall and incredibly thin. My brother and I were allowed anything we wanted but my sister would have portions dished out for her.

Don’t clean your plate, my mother would reprimand. It’s rude.

My sister was hungry. She learned how to steal food.

I can’t think of any stories to tell my kids. They want the stories that make them laugh so hard they spit milk out of their noses.

I don’t have any.

I can only make my sister laugh.

And it's really not funny.


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