The Definition of Confusion (Thank You, Mother)

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Reposted from 3/15/2010 edited:

When my children were still quite young and in school, they used to visit their grandparents on school holidays. I would drive halfway to Pensacola to meet my mother and place my children in her care. The first few days always felt like utter bliss and then the house gradually became a mausoleum. By the time I would pick up my children, I was more than ready to have them come home again. I welcomed that deafening chaos and unruly banter that came with three children.

My mother was always rather rigid while I was growing up and had a very democratic way of handling punishment. If the guilty party didn't confess the first time when my brothers and I were asked who did something, we all suffered the consequences. As I grew older and eventually became a parent myself, the woman who raised me seemed to change. She got soft in her old age! Had I broken her spirit? Possibly! But each time my children would rave on about the fun-loving person who they perceived their grandmother to be, I knew it wasn't the same person who raised me. My mother was proof that aliens do exist! They has abducted my mother and left in her place a female Captain Kangaroo or would it date me too much if I said Shari Lewis and Lambchop? Ask anyone from my old neighborhood! They knew my mother was a force to be reckoned with. Her voice alone could raise the dead. 

Each time my children would go for a visit, it took weeks before I could straighten them out. My mother waited on them hand and foot and made them do NOTHING but fun things while they visited her. When they came home sassy and quite lazy, I would want to pull my hair out. One time while driving home, my children seemed quite mesmerized by a joke book one of them had gotten while in Pensacola. One of their visiting rituals was for her to take them (her angelic grandchildren) to Hawsey's, a used bookstore and let them each purchase a large paper bag full of books to read. All three of my children loved to read so going to Hawsey's was always a fun thing to do.

Since they were quiet on our trip home and this was an oddity for them, I tried to engage them in conversation only to be told they were busy reading jokes. That explained the occasional chuckle I heard from the backseat. I asked them to read me aloud some of the jokes. My youngest child, Matthew spoke up and said he would read one. Although he was only 7 at the time, his reading skills were quite advanced for someone his age. As Matthew read, I almost drove off the road.

Whats' the definition of "confusion"?
Twenty blind lesbians in a fish market!


WTF? Now, with glee they started reading more jokes from the book as fast as they could until I could gather my thoughts and ask them where they got the book. In unison they told me...HAWSEY'S! And of course I asked if  their grandmother let them buy that book? Well, I was told she never screened the books that they bought, so the book titled Truly Tasteless Jokes was easily purchased by my son, Daniel (age 9).

Then they all went on to start reciting the dirty little ditties my mother had taught them. It was then I knew she had truly lost her mind or maybe the rules that apply to being a parent were different from those that apply to being a grandparent. It definitely was a gotcha moment lovingly given to me by my mother. To this day, my mother just smiles innocently when this story is told. What I want to know is why she never taught my brothers and me these ditties when we were kids or why my grandmother never taught them to us? Geez! I feel cheated! 

An example of one of the my mother's ditties:

A flock of birds
Chocked full of turds
Flew over my father's castle
They stretched their necks
And shit a peck
Then closed up their assholes.

Gratitude statement: I'm thankful I don't live in a castle near a fish market.

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