This time, I blame my son. Yes, it’s usually my mother, from the pool in her Ft. Myers, Florida Over 55 Active Lifestyle Community, who curses me with various cases of Maternal Revenge. Not this time. This time, it’s my oldest child. And he has a lot of nerve to do this to me… after all I’ve sacrificed and endured for him — 18 hours of labor before an emergency C-section. Hemorrhoids. Stretchmarks. Teething. Not only is he leaving me, he’s leaving me with her: the Left Over Child.
His little sister, with a seemingly invisible move of her hand, makes a 2000 pound horse, on which she sits, execute delicate, detailed ballet-like movements in a giant rectangle of dirt and sawdust. This girl, since she was a toddler, scaled bathroom pedestal sinks, kitchen cabinets and door jambs to unearth the most dangerous, poisonous and sharp "baby-proofed" objects. She rode tricycles, scooters and pogo sticks. She dabbled in ballet, gymnastics and golf. She’s proven her natural athletic and coordination traits for 15 years; yet she can’t walk along side her mother at the mall without running into her.
It’s like the doctor detected an internal Mommy Magnet deep within her preborn body at the fist sonogram. Then, in retaliation for all my late night emergency phone calls during pregnancy, slipped into me, during her C-section, a coordinating magnet.
So a day of mother-daughter meandering the mall sounds something like this:
Daughter: "It’s pink. And it has a hood. Put it back."
Daughter: "Woodstock called, they want their skirt back."
Mom: "Mooove over!"
Daughter: Wordless Look followed by a quick heel pivot and exasperated audible sigh strong enough to extinguish Yankee candles three stores down.
The Leftover child can be moody. She vacillates between complete martyrdom: "I have to do EVERYTHING around here. My life is ruined!" to resentment: "I hate my brother for moving out and leaving me with all the chores. I didn’t ask to be the youngest! What am I? Your personal slave?" And finally, a dull resignation: "Yessssssssss I already fed the dogssssss."
She can complain and moan about all the chores and responsibilities falling on her; but she’ll have her day. The powerful pull of the Maternal Magnet will wane and she’ll pull farther and farther away from me until she’s able to completely disengage herself. Before I know it, she’ll leave for college and exact her own form of revenge on me. She’ll leave me at home alone. With her father.
I wonder if they make replacement magnets?