Saturday, January 12, 2008

Manual labor

601 Snowflake
Which do you think is sexier? On a real body? A real 50-yr-old body?

My daughter said something to me that cut through me like ice and I had to blink away the tears. Some might say I am too sensitive, but I say I did an amazing job not letting on how hurt I was. Some might ask why I didn't let on how hurt I was, but I say it wasn't the right time, and it was my problem for being so sensitive. Mabel was coming up with all sorts of ideas that might get the house sold (She is an HGTV addict.) As she rambled on and on about this paint and that fixture and that hardware on kitchen cabinets, I said I was more than happy to go back home any weekend and help out with cleaning and fixing things up before we put the house back on the market. Then I added (and this is where things may have gone wrong), "I have always been willing and able to do my part when it comes to cleaning the house and doing my share in fixing it up for sale." (Remember my
b'day weekend last summer???) And that's when she said it. "Face it, Mom, you've never been that good at manual labor." SAY WHAT? Sure, the girls' father was the one who mowed the lawn, shoveled the driveway, cleaned up the dog dirt, taking out the trash, and raking the leaves. But I wanted to ask, "Who supported the family with the better-paying job? Who always had the medical benefits? Who paid for your father's MBA? Who often worked all day and freelanced at night to pay for summer camps? Who attended every parent conference and Open House for both girls? Who planned every birthday party and bought every Christmas gift?" And if her father and I had still been married, I could have asked all those questions, and she would have said something like, "You're right, Mom. You were a great pair who, together, did a great job." But because we're divorced, I couldn't say anything because it would look like a competition. And it would look like I was being way too sensitive. I didn't begin to forgive my mother for 10 years after her death, and I didn't realize until this last year during my divorce how strong and incredible she was to go through what I was going through only alone. So given that math and thinking I will live until I am 90 (2047), I guess I shouldn't expect my daughter to figure things out until 2057... unless, of course, she is much smarter and quicker than I was. I need to stop being so sensitive when she says these sorts of things, don't I? (Please be kind when you answer that.)

On another subject, would you consider Mango Sorbet a fruit?? (Warning: Base your answer on the fact that I am on my period.)

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At 10:24 PM, Blogger Sarahlynn said...

Definitely YES on the sorbet. I am on my period too, and am trying to figure out how to count that chocolate I just ate as . . . anything other than chocolate.

As for the Manual Labor, is it possible that she does understand how much you do, how much you've always done? And that she was using a very narrow definition of manual labor, meaning that she was talking about thinks like lifting and shoveling? Thowing her Daddy a bone?

At 10:36 PM, Blogger Sarahlynn said...

Also, the red ones are better on EVERY body.

At 11:55 PM, Blogger chez b├ęziat said...

I thought the whole post was going to be about panties. ;)

At 4:05 AM, Blogger Sailor said...

Sorbet is a fruit, and I'm *not* on any period. For Sarahlynn, chocolate doesn't count when you have your period, everyone knows that. You just missed the memo.

Panties, definitely the red. On anyone.

As for your daughter, I'm thinking sarahlynn is right, she's using a very, very narrow definition of manual labor. Whether or not it's to throw Dad a bone, or just being thoughtless, only you would know.

Hugs anyway, cuz those comments still hurt, even if she didn't mean it to.

At 9:03 AM, Blogger RONJAZZ said...

Does your daughter read your blog, Red? If she does, make this the first thing she finds: "Woman, you have no idea what manual labor is. As for whether your mother knows what hard work is, just look in the mirror, my dear. The fact that she gave BIRTH is enough, in my eyes...and, I imagine, in the eyes of the world as well!"

Off my soapbox now.

At 12:26 PM, Blogger having my cake said...

I prefer the red ones too. I like thongs and boy shorts but not those little string things with the two triangles of material. It's like wearing a cheesewire and I dont think it looks very nice peeping out from your jeans. A little lace is far nicer.

I love sorbet. I once had a rhubarb one 25 years ago. I can still taste it - bliss.

As to your daughter's observations, just ignore her. Im convinced that in later life we are put into positions that allow us to forgive if not to forget our mother's perceived inadequacies.

At 10:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not ask your new man which panties he'd rather see on a 50-year-old lady?

Personally, I think thongs look grotesque on EVERYONE. String bikinis are stupid, too.

Neither you nor your daughter will ever be sufficiently sensitive to each other's feelings. It's just hardwired into the mother-daughter thing.

At 11:55 AM, Blogger alliterative red said...

Working hard & being good at manual labor are two different things. I am rather inept at manual labor--the physics of it fouls me up every time. If you aren't that good at heavy lifting, then... you would not be considered good at manual labor. I don't think she meant it as "you're a slacker."

Mango Sorbet is a combination of fruit with a hint of dairy, so it's extra good for you!

and the red panties are better as far as the style goes, but you should get them in another color--clashing issues. ;-)

At 12:11 PM, Blogger ~gkw said...

Hmmm, I wouldn't mind seeing those on a 50 year old body.... or any other body!

At 3:36 PM, Blogger PLANET3RRY said...

hmmm... since you are on your period (thanks for sharing) I would say the red ones?

But one is to ponder:
Will they be on long enough for anyone to care...

At 4:08 AM, Anonymous The Lovable One said...

You are an amazing mother and I love you and I don't tell you enough, but I will say you can be too sensitive and that is your issue to deal with. As to the manual labor, who cleaned the bathrooms and the kitchen and just plan harped on us about how messy we were. (Don't get me started on the down stairs bath). But I must add as a slight voice of reason, one) who asked you to do all these things, and two) you are the one who likes to point out that you basically stopped cooking because of the moaning at dinner time (who cooks beef stroganoff for an 7 and 11 year old?) and I didn't have a birthday party in FOREVER, even when I asked for one on my golden sweet 16. I wasn't asking for anything like "my super sweet 16" like ones a Vega girl might get, but friends and stuff, but no.

And now that I've added my voice of reason, remember your other daughter is a bitch and I'm the good one. :)

At 3:09 PM, Blogger Sarahlynn said...

The Lovable One,
I am a lot closer to your age than your mom's, but:
1) You don't have to be an adult to clean the kitchen or bathroom, but most adults know that you don't need to be *asked* to do them; it's a required part of having a kitchen, a bathroom, a space to live in. (And teaching your kids responsibility is an important part of parenting.)
2) Lots of kids love beef stroganoff. My two (ages 1 and 4) love it, and I was cooking it myself when I was 11. I can't believe you got away with complaining when your mom made you meals!
3) Kids aren't entitled to parties. Even at-home parties are surprisingly time-consuming and expensive, as I've learned over the past 4 years.
RHE, I think I've just decided to move and not raise my kids in Kirkwood after all. I know your two are amazing, wonderful, fabulous young women, but the sense of entitlement kids in this town have is just staggering. (Not just yours; I see it at church, in the restaurants, elsewhere around town.)

At 7:46 AM, Blogger RONJAZZ said...

You know...I think I saw her dance once or twice...Mango Sorbet....:)

At 10:20 PM, Blogger Kittie Kate said...

I like the red ones better. They make your legs and butt look fuller (more shapely and feminine). The white ones make you look skinny and scrawny. They don't make you have the sexual curves of a mature woman.


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