I think that at some point in my life I will parent someone. Maybe not a baby, but a child of some sort. If that happens, I would like to sit down with my mother and talk about how she was able to do some of the remarkable things she did as a mom.
How, for example, was she able to hide Christmas presents in our tiny duplex and put them under the tree during the night and the wee hours of the morning without waking me or my brother? The way our duplex was set up, every room was connected to the next room except for the bathroom. From the front living room, we'd walk through the hallway straight into the room I shared with my brother (and later with my mother), then through my mom's room to the kitchen. There was no way for her to get to the living room where the Christmas tree was without passing through our room. Furthermore, she did hide some of the presents in the room where we slept--we discovered through intense detective work--and still managed to move those things and place them without casting a shadow across our Santa-seeking eyes. When we would wake at 5am, we would be shocked at the number of gifts we saw. And she still managed to look like she got some sleep the night before. If I didn't know better, I would have sworn she slipped us something to knock us out.
Beyond that, she seemed to know where I was and what I was doing at all times. Not that I was a bad kid, but occasionally I had a few lapses in judgement. I remember one time I was all the way on the other side of town, over by Dolphin Road, and I lived on Lindsley. I walked home with a friend as she talked me into visiting a guy that I liked. Most uncomfortable thing I had ever done. She left me alone with him in his house and all I could think was how badly I wanted to go home. After he teased me about knowing that I liked him (and sang Teddy Pendergrass songs to me), I got up and left. Nothing at all happened, not even a kiss, yet I felt like I had done something very wrong.
I managed to get to my house right before my mom got home and she busted me. How did she know? Nobody was home to tell her. I arrived long enough before her to look like I had been home. It's not just that she knew I wasn't home; she knew I had been in a boy's house. She also knew that nothing happened, but we still talked about why it was not a good idea that I would go there. She answered my silent query of how she knew by saying, "I know you."
So, on my prom night, when the goal seemed to be to stay out as late as possible or not come home at all, I asked my mom what time I should come home. She said, "Come home when you think you need to be home." Really? 'Cause you know, it's a tradition for everyone to ride around the streets surrounding the high school and the junior high wearing their prom outfits the next morning, looking as if they stayed up all night. She repeated, "Come home when you think you need to be home."
Wow. Prom Night. No curfew. Hot date that I had a massive crush on and oh when he asked me to go I was shocked cause he was so fine and so out of my league that I was sure he was not going to show up but he did and I did not have to be home...until...I thought...I needed...to be home. Wow.
So, I went to the prom. Had a little fun there. My date left me for a while (never knew where he went), but showed up at the end. We went to a hotel room...with about four to five other couples and ate hamburgers and watched karate movies. Sometime during the night, I realized the netting on my dress had made multiple snag marks on my pantyhose, so I took the hose off. At about 2am, my date decided to take me home. I was actually fine with that. I was tired and had seen almost every Bruce Lee movie ever made. Besides, the other girls in the room were doing their hair in anticipation of the prom parade the next day.
When we got to the car, my date noticed that I was not wearing pantyhose and he freaked out.
"Where are they?"
"In my purse."
"Put them on."
"Because your mother is going to kill me if you are not wearing those when I drop you off. She is probably sitting in your living room with a shotgun."
"My mother is in bed."
"Put them on."
I was kind of surprised at his insistence that my mother was just waiting for him to drop me off so that she could permanently part his jheri-curl hairdo. My mom is the sweetest looking person I know. (Of course, I knew how hard she could be, but you really couldn't tell from looking at her. That was what made her so deadly.) I p-shawed him, but he wasn't going anywhere until I was "dressed."
When we got to my house, he was sweating, curl activator running down his cheeks. He quietly kissed me goodnight, then ducked and ran for his car.
I walked in to find my mom...in bed...asleep.
She knew me.