Like many adult children, I sometimes look back at my mother and lament over all of her child-rearing 'mistakes.' (Not as much now that I have children of my own.) Nevertheless, I must give her credit for making my brother and I respect her -- particularly her time.
She is much shorter than I am, but I have never felt 'bigger than my mother.' Not in height or anything else. Sure, I've probably had more opportunities and experiences, but I pale in comparison to her in many ways. Today, the world probably sees her as a little old lady, but I still feel she could 'take me out' in a second. And, she wouldn't have to resort to violence. You see, my mother's weapon of choice is The Look.
My mother was (and still is) an expert at giving The Look. It seems that as a child, any time I'd even think about acting up in her presence, her eyes were on me with The Look. Especially in church. I'd sit there fidgeting or, heaven forbid, talking to friends, and slowly she would turn her head toward me and give it to me.... that stern glare that said, "One more move and I'll kill you!" (At least that's how I interpreted it.) I've tried The Look on my kids but it doesn't seem to work. "Mom, why are you making that funny face?" is usually the response I get.
Years ago, there were times when I would linger a little too long with friends after school in front of Dorsey High, knowing that my mom was waiting. On the days she would pick me up, she would get there early and park right in front of the school so I could see her as soon as I walked out. She knew I could see her and she'd give me about a minute to say my goodbyes before I'd get The Look, which said, "Don't make me have to get out of this car and come get you."
Again... I've tried this with my kids as I wait in the hot sun for them outside of their schools and watch them slowly stroll to the car. You would think my daughter is a celebrity the way she exits the school... acknowledging each and every friend...stopping to chat with them...giving a slight wave to those far away..... friends she will see the next day!! In the meantime, I am seething in the car and trying to give her The Look because I know she sees me! Finally, she makes it to the car and the little brat has the nerve to say, "Have you been waiting long?"
Guess I need some lessons from my mom!
First published by Huffington Post on May 6, 2011