One of my favorite memories of my mother was when I was around 13 or 14 or so. Her girlfriend was out of town and either she invited me or I invited myself to sleep in her bed with her that night. My family is of the extremely affectionate sort. More so than most people's, I think. I grew up snuggling my parents, occasionally sleeping in their beds until I was 18 or so. There were always kisses and hugs and afternoons lounging on couches together. It always shocked and saddened me to go to friends' houses and see their parents interact differently with them. There wasn't constant affection, giggling, joking, play-fighting. My parents raised us like wolves, and to this day I still prefer the comfort of another person's presence close by on the couch, or an extra body in my bed. It's rare but I am always, always endlessly thrilled to have someone I love or care about in my bed. It would be naive to say that I had an exceptionally happy, healthy childhood, but what I and my brother lacked in normalcy was made up for in love, affection and never ending support from both of our parents.
Anyway, her girlfriend was out for the night and I was in bed with her. I was allowed to hang out with them while they were in the bed together, in the mornings or whatever, but I wasn't allowed to sleep with them because, even though they had a king sized bed, three was a crowd, especially with me being the third. I have always been leggy and sprawling and have been called numerous times a "bed hog." So I think it was me that invited myself into my mother's bed because she probably wasn't too keen on sleeping with someone who steals blankets and spreads out in her sleep.
We were watching Jerry Springer or Sally Jesse. I think my love of trashy TV comes directly from my mother. She, and me, too, didn't watch a lot of TV, but when she did it was always pretty low brow and ridiculous, and she would say so. Something about watching the idiocy of others is thrilling. That night was some kind of troubled teen episode and we got to talking about how we could do that, we could audition for the show and go on TV. I would be a rowdy, aggressive teenager and she would be a helpless and worried mother. We would have a yelling match and I would say something disrespectful to her.
In real life, I would never say anything disrespectful to my mother. I got into trouble as a teenager, a lot, actually, but it was never anything that spoke to my not respecting my parents. I loved them, I still do, and I cared about them and each time I ended up in trouble I was deeply, deeply ashamed to have disappointed them. Once, when I was very young, like 10 or so, my father said I couldn't spend the night at a friend's house. Angry, I told him I hated him. Tears welled up in his eyes and even though he knew it wasn't true he got angry, put his finger in my face and told me to never, ever say that to him again. We've had fights since then but I've never gone down that road since, and I never would, because I knew how badly it hurt him the one time I said it as a child. Disappointment has always hurt more than grounding or any other kind of punishment my parents have doled out.
I know my father is proud of my brother and I. We're both kind of fuck ups but we do our best and its done us pretty good. He has a good job, owns his house and truck. I've got lots of awards and resume fodder and soon I'll be graduating from college. We're not bad kids, and I think most parents would be psyched to have kids like us (arrests, divorces, bad habits withstanding...but we couldn't help it, we were young). Still I know it crosses both our minds pretty regularly; "What would mom think?"
I know exactly what she would think. There's a lot she would tut at, sigh deeply, say our names in her low, irritated voice..."Rhiiiaannooonnnnn......." I've definitely got a couple items on my list of bad deeds that would require a curt, "Rhiannon Admidas!" But I think the bottom line is, at the very end of the day, with everything examined and understood and identified, she'd be proud. Of both of us. And would quickly try to find someone to brag to, "Look! Look at what my babies are doing! I made them. And I love them, too."