You’re Welcome, Mom

Posted on May 6, 2011


Parents are supposed to love all their children equally, but my siblings and I knew our parents had favorites.  They always said they loved us the same, and they tried not to let their favoritism show, but still, we all knew…because we listened at the door on Mother’s Day as they criticized the cards we had made, and Mom always made fun of my card the least.

All my siblings (except one delusional older brother) agreed I was Mom’s favorite.  How did we know?  I guess we could tell by the little things, like how I was the only kid who got a vaccination against smallpox while the others received a shot for smallpox.

Despite this obvious favoritism, nobody seemed jealous because they all agreed I was probably Dad’s least favorite.  How did we know?  I guess it was the little things, like how he couldn’t remember my name.

As an adult, I realize I’m not my mom’s favorite anymore because I’ve been living far away for most of my adult life, and she sees her second-string children far more often.  She once told me–not so much with words but more so with a look–that twenty visits from her boring children equaled one incredibly awesome visit from me.

Also, I probably fell out of favor when I wrote an unauthorized biography of my mom full of unflattering stories like how she would never let us eat treats, but she always had a Snickers in her purse.  I shopped it to publishers, but they declined to offer me a deal because the book was too juicy for publication.  Also because it was written on napkins.

Mom, I ask you to reconsider your current rankings of children by reminding you of the following:

I’m the one that talked the family out of putting you in an assisted living facility…back when you were forty and still in perfect health.

You’re welcome, Mom.

Remember when you ran that marathon?  I probably shouldn’t be telling you this, but the whole family met secretly to discuss how to talk you out of trying so you wouldn’t embarrass yourself.  On the question of whether we believed in you, everyone voted “nay” except for me, who instead voted “present”.  Because I was your favorite, I was chosen as their representative to beg you to drop out, but instead I lied to you and said we were behind you 100 percent.  I went back to the group and told them you were only planning to run the marathon as a joke and had promised to stop after ten steps and say, “How much further is it?  Twenty-six miles!  I thought a marathon was twenty-six meters.”

You’re welcome, Mom.

Most of the times I got in trouble growing up, it was actually me taking the blame for other siblings because I knew you would be discouraged by what terrible children they had become, and I decided to redistribute some of their shortcomings onto me, the perfect child.

You’re welcome, Mom.

Remember when we were at the grocery store when I was eleven, and I found the grocery store public address microphone and accused you of shoplifting over the loudspeaker?  You didn’t laugh at the time, but I think the shame you felt that day taught you a lesson that has helped you avoid turning to a life of crime.

You’re welcome, Mom.

Remember when I was a teenager and you couldn’t find your glasses and you searched everywhere for two months?  Who found your glasses in the couch?  I did.  And who put them back in the glasses case in your purse so you would think you were losing your mind when you found them in the very first place you had looked two months earlier?  I never told you I put them there, so you never knew you owed me a thanks for finding them.

You’re welcome, Mom.

Remember when you would ask me if I had taken “a cookie” and I would answer no and felt I was being honest because I had taken “multiple cookies”?  And sometimes you would ask if I had “hit” my brother, and I answered no and felt I wasn’t lying because I had “kicked” my brother.  And remember when you asked if I had “sold” my younger brother, and I answered no because I “gave” him away and received no monetary compensation?  These were all carefully orchestrated lessons in both semantics and in the importance of treating everything people say with suspicion and paranoia.

You’re welcome, Mom.

And to that delusional brother who thought he was mom’s favorite, you should know, mom used to wake me up after you went to sleep, and we would eat popcorn as we read your diary, and laughed.

Posted in: Columns, Kids