Free Read – Book Excerpt

I will be sharing excerpts from my humorous memoir over the next week or so, with a break from this nonsense for nonsense, er guest posts from Slim Randles. Between the two of us, we ought to be able to keep you entertained. If not, don’t bother to tell us so. 🙂

For refreshments, I’ll share some cookies that should last until I get back from my short vacation to bake some more. Enjoy.

This is from chapter two of A Dead Tomato Plant and a Paycheck. The chapter is titled Socially Unacceptable. And wait until you see Friday’s post, which is a continuation of this chapter. 

It’s an indisputable fact that as parents our intelligence ratio is in direct proportion to the ages of our children. The younger they are, the smarter we are. Not so much as we all advance in years.

I came to this profound realization the day my oldest daughter turned 16 and half my gray matter disintegrated. I could hardly believe that she was the same daughter who used to consider me the final authority on everything from why God made bugs to how the moon got up in the sky.

How fondly I remembered those good old days when she was four and I was smart.

She stood in awe of me because I could answer all her questions, not to mention the fact that I could actually grow a plant from her watermelon seed.

Then she grew up and it reached a point where I would give almost anything for just one brief glimmer of that old wide-eyed wonder. In fact, I would have given anything for a simple nodding acknowledgement that I might know something besides my name, address, and phone number.

It was a terrible shock to realize this was happening. I had years of education behind me. Not to mention all the accumulated wisdom from the intervening years, and I was reduced to pre-kindergarten status by one disdainful glance.

I, who used to be the most respected beauty consultant outside of Glamour magazine, suddenly knew nothing about hair care or make up.

I, who used to rival Chef Tell and the Galloping Gourmet in the kitchen, was now hard pressed to turn out a decent carrot stick.

I, who at one point could have started my own designer label with all the cute little dresses I created, had about as much taste as Miss Piggy.

Mind you, this was the same daughter who used to wear those dresses and tell everyone that her mommy made them for her. Now she wanted all the old photographs destroyed so nobody would ever see that she once wore a coat made out of pillow ticking.

It was a cute coat. Honest. With little yellow daisies on it that I hand appliqued. But did that matter? No. All she worried about was the fashion police and the fact that someone might decide she looked like a pillow. Forget the fact that she was thin as a rail and everyone knows a pillow is plump. She was sure that if anyone saw the picture, she would lose what little social standing she had.

This disdain for my mental acuity reached a point that I started wishing we could go back in time so I could bask in her adoration once again.

But then I had a second thought on the subject.

If we went back in time, this day of reckoning would still be lurking in my future, and I’d eventually have to face into it. Since I was already there, I might as well tough it out while I still had a small shred of intelligence left.

Keep in mind that this is not a unique experience. All mothers live in mortal fear of the day when you suddenly wake up to discover that this great intellectual gap has cropped up between you and your child, and your IQ zooms to a minus 10 overnight.

And it is not a temporary condition.

Mothers have been known to exist in this wasteland until the kid turns 25, so be prepared. Here are some of the comments you are likely to hear when your teenager is no longer interested in your ideas or advice or opinions:

“You wouldn’t understand. How can anyone who talks to her washing machine ever understand my problems.”

“You always say the dumbest things.”

“What do you know? You grew up in the dark ages.”

“How can someone who still wears flared jeans and bobby socks ever understand why I can’t live without a satin vest?”

“How can someone who thinks disco rock is a new flavor of ice cream ever relate to what I’m going through?”

That’s all for today, folks. I hope your week gets off to a good start. Stay cool. Stay happy. 

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