Other is a word that rhymes with mother, which also happens to rhyme with smother. Which begs the question: Am I a dreadful person for wanting to smother my mother ?”

Mother wasn’t a bad person; there was no physical abuse  – just a major lack of tenderness which can leave greater, more permanent scars. She was a perfectionist who found it very difficult to show warmth or affection, even to her children. She was also “a classic crazy maker”. 

I don’t remember her saying “I love you”, tickling me till I squealed or reading bedtime stories. What I do remember is proudly showing her a drawing I made in school with the inscription “Skyscrapers scrape the sky while butterflies flutter by”. My teacher called it “highly imaginative”; mother said it was foolishness – butterflies can’t fly that high.

As a teenager I was forbidden to shave my legs but did anyway. Not wanting my secret revealed, I wore jeans all the time, even to the beach in the middle of summer! I also used a self-tanner which turned my skin orange! Mother watched as I scrubbed in water mixed with bleach – a humiliating experience. It was at that time she discovered  my shaved legs, causing her to erupt like a gas explosion. I was probably grounded but it was worth it. 

Many days after arriving home from school I would find the contents of my dresser drawers dumped on my bed, simply because mother didn’t approve of how my clothes were folded. If I wanted to sleep that night, I’d have to put all my things away (or push them to the floor, which I often did!) I’d get hell the next day but it was a trip seeing her bulging veins and bugged-out eyes.

Years later when I had kids, mother would pop in unannounced and examine my house like the “White-Glove Lady” checking for dust. If my oven didn’t meet her standards of cleanliness, she would clean it! Well, pardon my mess; I have two little ones who are more important to me than a spotless houseStill, when she did that it drove me crazy. Never once did she play with my kids.

Lately I’ve been having a recurring dream about smothering mother with a pillow. When I wake up, I’m smiling. I guess my earlier question bears repeating: Does that make me a dreadful person?” 

NAR © 2018

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