mother daughter chat

I sometimes catch myself saying things I have heard before. I will be talking to Simone and Nadia and blurt out: A hard head makes for a soft behind. Or, are you listening to me? Or, don’t make me come back there. It is at those times that I know I am somehow channeling Mom. She said those same things to me, and I, like many children, swore I would not grow up and say them to my children.

Mom was hopelessly flawed. For starters, she made a career out of drinking and cursing. When I look back on my childhood, which I do more often these days as I help raise Simone and Nadia, it is her lessons, not her flaws, that float to the top of my memory.

Mom was hard on my brother and me. She consulted with a belt on the few occasions we did not listen, and she delivered kisses, hugs and words of praise when we made her proud. She watched out for us. I remember one day when my brother came home crying. Some children around the block had been pushing him around. Mom bolted out of the house and up the street. When those kids saw the angry skinny lady coming their way, they scattered like roaches. My brother was not embarrassed Mom came to his rescue. It was just another way she showed him she loved him.

I can see myself doing the same thing for Simone and Nadia. I thought about that this week after a Milwaukee teacher cut a student’s hair, and the mother and daughter were featured on the news. If that had happened to me, Mom would have made sure the teacher had a lot less hair that day. She worked hard to make sure I looked presentable and that included brushing and combing my hair every day. I would like to say I would restrain myself in such a situation, but I know the police would have been called. Every time I send Simone and Nadia out in the world I send a little piece of me with them. I certainly do not send them to preschool or anywhere else so an adult can tear down the self-esteem we have built together.

The Milwaukee teacher needs a psychological evaluation. Children know how to annoy adults. It is part of their job description. Some days I think Simone and Nadia are pushing all of my buttons. That does not mean I can forget I am an adult and they are children.

4 thoughts to “Lessons

  • Joyful Mom

    Exactly! She is an adult in a position of authority. If she is easily annoyed by small children, why did she become a teacher?

    I’ve been trying to imagine my reaction would be if this happened to one of my girls.

  • Nikki

    I totally relate with the whole I would never be like mom thing. The things I catch myself saying. I stop and think wow….I’m turning into her! lol (well, my grandmother since she raised me)

    The mother did an interview with essence and was also on the phone with HSN so I’m glad its getting more media attention and I think she is going to take it further and at least try to get her fired. She should be fired! I can’t imagine having to send my daughter to school where the lady who humiliated her works. Ridiculous….

  • Ernessa, author of 32 Candles

    Don’t even get me started on that teacher. Just how is that not abuse.

    I’m basically my mom on self-aware steroids and I’m totally okay with that. I think she did a fabulous job given the resources she had and I can only hope I do half as well as she did.

    And I take solace in the fact that I remember more what she did right and less what she did wrong as the years go by. I can only hope my own children cut me that kind of slack when they grow older.

  • class factotum

    I live in Milwaukee. The fact that this teacher hasn’t already been fired explains a lot about why the schools here are so bad.

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