Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Pester and Bitch

My mother bought me a purse. It is, to steal a line from Michelle's kids, BEAST. It is sick. It is supa dupa fly. It is so cool that  a security guard in the District of Colombia stopped hating her job long enough to smile and say, "Girl, I love your purse."

The purse is made out of gum wrappers. Really. Since I swing my purses around like ninja stars, it was already starting to tear a bit.

My mother said, "You need to carry your purse like this," and she placed it over my shoulder and pressed my arm down beside it to keep it still.

I puffed out some air and said, "Mom, why does it have a handle if you're not supposed to use it?"

"You are supposed to use it, but you're not supposed to swing it around like a monkey."

And, with a flip of a switch, I reverted to thirteen. "Mom, I'm going to carry my purse however you like, and you just need to deal."

My brother, who had witnessed this entire exchange, grumbled, "You two. Pester and bitch. Bitch and pester." He walked away towards my father, who was wisely avoiding the entire conversation.

I walked along, swinging my purse defiantly, and called ahead to Tom, "And just who is the bitch in this equation?"

Mom smugly retorted, "Do you really want to know the answer to that question?"

On an earlier outing, my brother and father ate some chicken that up and decided to Go Rogue, resulting in massive food poisoning. The fact that our septic system still works is a marvel of modern technology.

I was also ill. Although I briefly wondered if I was the only person in the history of the world to get pregnant with an IUD, I think the more likely culprit was a Key Lime Martini.

So. To set the scene, my brother and father are sharing a bed, taking turns punishing the throne. I'm upstairs, attempting to die when I'm not dry-heaving into a plastic trash can. My mother is wrangling the boys with Paul.


Somewhere in all of this, my mother determines, as she does for pretty much any occasion, that more shopping is the answer to our problems. She drives to the grocery store and buys five or six gallons of Gatorade, a gross of saltines, and enough Ginger Ale to fill a small swimming pool.

I wake up the next morning, stagger downstairs, and look at my kitchen. Every, and I mean, EVERY  available surface is covered with crap. There's a filthy fish tank (Owen's birthday gift), bottles of Ginger Ale, three cell phones, a box of Kleenex, and about fifteen half-drunk cups of liquid.

You must understand, I'm a bit anal-retentive about my clean counter-tops and uncluttered views. It makes me panic. Truly, my heart races and I grow angry LIKE HULK SMASH.

So, I turn to my mother, who had spent the night cleaning vomit and poop IN MY HOME because, lest we forget, I was TOO HUNGOVER to help, and say, "God, Mom, you're such a hoarder."

Bravo, me. Was I the bitch or the pest in that round? Do I really want to know the answer to that question?

We're all watching the Olympics. My mother looks at me, looks away. She steals another quick glance, looks away.

Unable to contain herself, she asks, "Honey, are you ever going to comb your hair? Just a thought."

"I'm almost thirty-five! I can comb my hair or not! It's my choice!" I screech.

I daresay Mom was the pest in that round. I declare my actions not bitchy, but entirely reasonable and justified.

Before bed, my mother says, for no obvious reason, "Well, I don't think there's anything wrong with you."

Thanks, Mom. Thanks a lot. I didn't either. (Apparently others do.)

As everybody was packing up, I felt a dull ache, already missing her, already regretting my inability to suck it up and be nice, already feeling part of my very soul flying away.

The goddess Demeter raged when when her daughter Persephone was whisked away to Hades, and stopped all growth. The Greeks explained Winter this way. I feel that my mother's love for me is a fierce and powerful as Demeter's and when we are separated, I feel colder, less complete.

When we're together, it's often in short, intense spurts. Unfortunately, we tend to play the pester and bitch game, and I don't know why we fall into these patterns. I wish I could say in words what I say in writing---that I love her, and I learn from her, and I'm grateful for her.

Instead, I'll just do this:

I cannot forget my mother,
She is my bridge.

~ Renita Weems


Ms. Moon said...

My mother and I do not play pester and bitch. We don't play together at all.
I love this post. I hope you feel better and guess what? I don't think there's anything wrong with you either.
(Key lime martini? That doesn't even sound right. Key Lime pie is good. Key Lim martinis- not natural.)

mama-face said...

1. What a touchy, albeit bitchy, post about your mother; for your mother. I feel the same about my mine in many ways, we love each other, but we usually end up arguing about some dumb thing and she starts treating me like a child after 5 minutes. Perhaps I regress, I'm not saying. But she wouldn't buy me a purse and that is the difference. :)

2. photos of purse please. photos of you twirling it please.

3. Don't ever come to my house without a good 30 minute warning. My counters would cause you to have a seizure.

Cat said...

Purse pictures? It sounds cute!

You and your mom sound like me and my sister... bitch and pester indeed. But always with love underneath.

clearness said...

Cat took the words from my tongue....I want purse photos!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an interesting weekend! I agree, we need to see purse pictures.

LB said...

My mom and I always played Martyr and Bitch. Can you guess who was the Bitch???

I think it's a mother-daughter thing. I only hope there's enough Xanax in the world to get me through this life with my daughter.

Traci said...

First off, I agree with Mama-Face, I want pictures of the cool purse made of gum wrappers. And yes, it is your God given right to swing that purse!

The mother-daughter dynamic is so tough. No one will ever love you more fiercely (the Demeter example is an excellent one!) but no one knows how to push your buttons better. As my daughter and I have already begun the daily struggle at the wee age of three, I wonder if I will make her as crazy. I hope not but if I do I guess I am in good company.

PS There is absolutely nothing wrong with you!

Daffy said...

I too would like purse pictures, please.

Pester and Bitch....that's great! I love these little snapshots of moments in your daily life. I don't mean to snicker at you persay, I hope that its snickering with you....

sd said...

Hey- my daughter has a purse made out of gum wrappers too! She's seven.

Anonymous said...

Pester and Bitch. That's the way of mothers and daughters.

Every year since I was, I don't know, seven my mother has given me a hairbrush for Christmas. Then she tells me how she would like my hair to be cut like hers. I don't brush my hair, she can take the hair brush and stuff it.

I love my mom, too.

Unknown Mami said...

My mother is coming to visit for Easter. I spend months missing her and withing 5 minutes of being around her I turn into an obnoxious teenager.

michelle said...

I started cracking up when your mom told you how to carry your purse.

I'm actually envious. Sounds like there's a damn tight bond between Pester and Bitch.

Love ya Nancy C :)

Robin said...

Well I dont think there is anything wrong with you either...WTF...where did that come from..?...LOL..I can picture it makes me wonder if I will do those things with my girs..??..I dont know..that is not the relationship I have with my mother..if you want to know what kind I have, read the post .."Granny Annie and her incredible need to know".!2 weeks back.. That is our kind of relationship..if you want to call it a "relationship"...the only time my mother gets critical is when it involves some sort of discipline with the kids...she doesnt believe in that is always a problem..shes very cyclical though, and usually goes for months even years without a comment..and then BAM..she zooms in for a doozy..then I yell at her and its over for a while...I know very weird...but its all I got..and she is so cute..I may do a Family Friday about her tomorrow on Amys(Schultz) meme..mothers and daughter relationships are a very strange phenomenon...but we always Love them..! your family moments..!

LMJ said...

I scroll down a bit, so see if you had posted pics of the purse.

Mom and I are also just like that!!!

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

My mom lives with me right now and so things are not exactly lighthearted in our relationship, unfortunately. Your mom stories were so funny and uplifting in a real life sort of way that they almost made me cry because I miss having that with my mom. We are too close for comfort I think. Anyway, as always, amazing writing. I adore you. And your mom.

Corrie Howe said...

Well it does make for interesting blog fodder. And isn't this just the way of the world?