I have just experienced another weekend during which my children told me how terrible things were when they were growing up. Before anyone says anything - of course they were doing it in fun - sort of - and stretching the truth a bit - and taking advantage of the fact that Mom is getting old and can't remember things too well much of the time. And of course we were a happy family. And of course children remember things differently than adults. I know all that. If I didn't know it because of anything else, I would because I was a kid once too, and know that I do not remember things the way my parents did.
This time I was spared the full force of the situation, because there were only two of them here - Ruth and Rita. When they went over to Joe's house, I stayed home this time. And Kitty wasn't here. So they didn't all four have a chance to gang up on me as they often do. But I still got some of it. It's either "Let's make fun of Mom", or, "I remember when Mom used to tell us..." or some terrible things I used to cook or do or refuse to let them do. And even though we're all laughing, I begin to wonder just how terrible a mother I was. I honestly do not remember much of what they tell me, and cannot imagine myself doing or saying some of these things I am alleged to have said.
Then I remember my own mother, and things she used to tell me, and realize that she didn't remember things the same way I did, and often did deny things that I remembered later as I grew up.
Rita would tell me, "You always used to tell us..." And I swear up and down that I would never have said such a thing. But I probably did, though I honestly cannot remember it nor imagine myself saying it. Times change. We change and grow with them. But why can I not recall them as they really were? Or were they not really the way my children recall them? Are they remembering wrong, influenced by their own perspective at the time? Maybe it isn't just poor old Mom whose mind is clouded by time.
But they have to have their fun - or is it their revenge? And I don't argue with them about it... much.
While Ruth was here, I showed her my toonlets. She was interested enough to try it, and that was it. She spent a LOT of time on the computer, creating her own characters and comic strips. She did a great job of it too. With her sense of humor and story-telling ability, she'll be a star in no time. This is her own version of herself on the right. The version I made of her earlier is the more sophisticated one on the left.
Well, regardless of whether their version of our family life, or mine, is the correct one, they all managed to grow up to be really great adults. I'm very proud of each one of them. And we all seem to be happy with our relationships with one another. I guess I can't ask for much more than that.
And one of these days I'll probably be including a toonlet by Ruth in a post. My own have been mostly involving the four year old grandson, and done for his benefit, but hers may be more on the adult level and more post-worthy. And funny too! Time will tell.
Here's a bonus, just because I feel like it.
Monday, March 9, 2009
How Bad Was It? No, Really
Labels: faulty memory, my kids, toonlets.com
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i never said you were a bad mother. you were a good mother. all i said was you washed my mouth out with soap. which was the approved method of the time, i believe. you were a very good mother. that's why i haven't cracked up yet, at least not completely.
Your post reminds me of what "they" say about eye witnesses - there's a different version for every one. But the happiness you all had comes across very clearly, and that's the bottom line! Cool 'toons, too! (say that 3 times fast!!)
Of course you were a good mother, Bobbie. The very fact that this is bothering you lets us know how hard you worked at being a good mother. My mother keeps telling Art things I said or did when I was little and I don't remember them at all, in fact, I remember it differently. On the other hand there are utterly important things that I feel she should remember and she doesn't.
I love your little toonlet, Bobbie. Great way to start the week!
I can only second second everything Kay has said. Our kids tend to remember things in one way and we remember them in another -- we're all different and we remember things differently, we experience things differently. Part of it is age and part of it perception. You were a wonderful mother! Just looking at your kids today will assure you of that.
I love your toonlets, too! I've said it before, you are so talented in so many ways -- to hell with age!!!
No, my darling daughters, I did not say either of you ever called me a terrible mother. I said that myself, and even I was kidding.
But for the record, I do not remember nor could I ever imagine myself washing a child's mouth out with soap.-I guess if you remember it, it must be so, but I find it hard to believe.
When Mom was alive my sister and I often did this to her too ... tho the best of these was my sister who insisted something happened and my mother looked at me and said do you remember that? I said no. She said to my sister 'I think you grew up in an alternate universe' .. that made me laugh so hard .. and it still does, I do often think that when my sister asks if I remember something from our childhood(s).
I'm only 41 and I get the same thing from the boys. I think reality is somewhere in between what I remember and what they remember... that's the way it usually goes doesn't it?
Your children sound just like MY children. Degree of memory must be a generational thing. My children had a wonderful childhood with 2 (orignal) parents and a warm house, pets, toys, good food etc. However, a few years ago, my middle son said to me (he was having a bad day) "we were always hungry as kids". I have to tell you...of all of the imagined accusations he could have come up with...that was (by far) the easiest to refute (I was a bake-aholic when the kids were little). His siblings quickly chimed in and stood up for me...but I guess it is how he remembers it. Don't forget that some of the slings and arrows our kids throw at us have nothing to do with us mothers. We are just a safe outlet. Hang in there.
When my sisters and I get together we tease my Mom...tell her about when she would throw shoes at us..we were to fast for her and that was her only recourse when we would sass back at her.
I think she may have even given us some soap to wash our mouths out..
We love our mother dearly..but yes we do give her some grief still as adults.
Your kids sound just about like mine, Bobbie! Two of them were here this weekend and they put us on a bit, just like yours did. Isn't it fun?
Have your children every gone badly of the rails, brought police to your door, been asked not to go back to somewhere, hurt anyone? No then you are a good mother.
I'm incessantly teased by my girls. I'm a bit sensitive about it at times because like you, I don't always remember my shortcomings. And I'm still only 49!
One thing that always bugged me but amuses me now is that whenever I set limits or was a terse with the girls they would always call that "yelling", even if my tone wasn't.
Interesting post about how we relate to each other and what we do and not remember about our interactions.
It's clear that your children have a sense of humor, which I suspect the real source of their razing you!
You used to cook? Kitty
Kitty is the daughter with the smart mouth, folks. Of course I cooked - and baked - all the time!
And what are you doing, commenting as "Anonymous"?
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