Friday, May 18, 2007

I open my mouth to speak and my mother's voice comes out

My eldest has moved back home.
Well both of my eldest children are back.
And life is different.
But DN1 has her own mini-fridge and like many smart people tries to watch what she eats, so her forays into the kitchen are rare and usually involve a pasta and tuna or pasta and sauce combination. Plus large amounts of fresh fruit.
SN1 on the other hand has been living away from home for almost four years.
That's 28 dog years for those keeping track using that method.
I'm awfully glad to have him here but we are undergoing a period of adjustment.
And perhaps it is me who has to adjust more than anyone else.
Problem is, when I yell at him for eating all the food, drinking juice and not putting the carton away, or leaving dishes lying around I hear my mother's voice coming out of my mouth.
And I shudder.
Let me tell you why.
Way, way back when - and I can't even tell you if I was 7 or 8 (because I've chosen to forget), my mother remarried.
A union that many still question to this day, including my aunts.
Along with my stepfather we got three stepbrothers and a stepsister.
All older than me (I'm the baby, can't you tell by the way I act???).
When they married it was about 1972 or 1973 (again I've chosen to forget). It may even have been 1971, see I really can't recall. And Ken and Tom, don't send me an email and remind me, I'd rather not recall.
So we were all living in this house with four bedrooms: me, my two brothers, and my three stepbrothers. I think the oldest stepbrother was there but again, blurry recall.
Regardless, it was the early 1970s, a time when the residual of the late 60's rebellious stage was still present in our small college town. I emphasize college town because back then wherever there were college students, there were always drugs.
Not sure if it is still that way at present, but I can certainly tell you we have plenty of beer pong champions on our street.
So we all lived in this little house and it drove my mother crazy.
The period of adjustment for everyone was horrorific.
I tried to stay out of the way and hung out in my bedroom listening to my Monkees records on my blue plastic record player from Grants (which I still have).
My mother would SCREAM at my stepbrothers, Tom would try to just get along with everyone, and Ken would just want to do his own thing, which involved listening to music in his room.
Sounds of Jimi Hendrix playing the National Anthem would float down from the attic bedroom that my one stepbrother made into his own, and anti-war and pro-drug posters were hung on the wall of another bedroom, one I remember in particular featured the Glad Man holding a bag of pot. (When stepbrother G became a "Jesus Freak" later in the 1970s that poster was thrown away - and I can't even find an image of it now.)
The pot my mother found growing in the backyard was flushed down the toilet and you could tell she was mad, mad, mad about that.
Because she screamed.
She screamed a lot, my stepbrothers got in trouble a lot, and my stepsister wisely lived in her college dorm away from the fracas.
It was horrible, that's what I remember the most, and never really did calm down until after my stepbrother and my brother graduated from high school in 1974 and then my brother moved out of the house and into his own apartment.
Can you blame him?
It is those thoughts that come into my head as I yell at my son for leaving a brick of cheese in his room, which the dog promptly picks up and claims.
And I hate myself for being my mother.
And having her voice come out of my mouth.
With the knowledge that awareness is the first step towards fixing the problem, I resolve to think before I yell.
Something my mother never did learn to do.