When I was twelve years old, my mother was working the night shift at the hospital. She was always working the night shift. It gave her enough time to pick my three sisters up from school, drop us off to extra curriculars, run through Stop N’ Shop, and then sneak in a quick nap.
One evening, I was probably on the internet chatting with people I never met when she calls me from her bedroom asking me to store a tuple ware of spaghetti in her car. I remember now that it was a Friday and I know that for sure because she made pasta on Thursdays. It was the only other day she made dinner next to Sunday and we always looked forward to bulk leftovers because pasta tastes better that way. Anyway, it was overcast. She calls me from her bedroom, instructing me drowsily, “Sarah, can you take my dinner to the car and set on the passenger floor. Do not drop my food please.”
My first thought next to feeling insulted that my mother always had to provide remedial instructions additional to simple requests was why she emphasized on me dropping her food. It was wet out but gravel was as slippery as a brillo pad. I roll my eyes.
Well, I take her food out and the first thing I do is drop it. I was mortified. Instinctively, I scoop it back up with my hands and set it on the floor of the passenger seat like nothing happened.
Later that night, she calls me.
She says, “Sarah, you dropped my food?”
And of course I lie because I was the kind of kid that did that.
“You know how I know you dropped my food?” she asks, “I just curled up the biggest fork of spaghetti thinking I’m about to enjoy some leftovers and bit into the biggest rock.”
And she laughs. It was unusual of my mother to laugh, especially after I lied but that was the way she was– unpredictable. Some may be bothered by her suddenness. I’ve had my share of confusion and disagreement and then anger feeling I was undeserving to be consoled. When I think of my mother as a person, however, I can’t help but respect that at least she could say she was unapologetic and that’s something we should all practice in enhancing our self-esteem.