I just spent ten days with my mother in Italy, and I’ve spent the entire summer living in a house with my two parents. You (the universal you) would think that I’d have the right to be a little #rude to the old folks now and then. But over the last month, I have been taught the difficult way that there is never a time, place, or excuse to be prissy, selfish, or my usual know-it-all-ish.
You can piss your parents off in a lot of ways. Here are some of my favorites:
- Tell them that they chew and/or breathe too loudly.
- If they ignore your comment that they chew and/or breathe too loudly, remove yourself from the general vicinity so that they understand the severity of their intensive chewing and/or breathing and its heavy impact upon you.
- Tell your mom that she “really needs Keratin.”
- Tell your dad that you think that the dog shit “in the front” and proceed to give him attitude when he asks you to clarify where “the front” is (obviously it means the mudroom, duh).
- Refuse to watch Criminal Minds in their bed with them at night regardless of how many times they ask you to.
- Raise your eyebrows when your dad says that he thinks he looks “pretty damn good.”
- Tell your mom it was dumb of her to cross out a word using pen on a government document because it will make her look like she is committing some sort of fraud.
- Tell your parents that you will vomit if they do not close the door while they are using the bathroom.
- Shit on your parents on every form of social media possible.
- When your mom asks you why you shit on her on every form of social media possible, tweet about her asking you why you shit on her on every form of social media possible.
- Then, shit on her more on social media by writing an entire blog post about it (just kidding, love you Mom).
On the nine-hour plane ride home from Italy, I did something that angered my mom which left her ranting about my usual negative tendencies. These are the typical recycled insults that she pulls out of the old mental phrasebook: “It’s just so sad. You really don’t even know me.” “You’re not a princess.” “You’re turning into a JAP.” “You talk to me like I’m a little piece of shit.” etc. etc. As you can imagine, the list continues. In this particular battle, my mom delved into the realm of me being unappreciative and never complimenting her appearance nor congratulating her for anything she does well.
So then, I thought: maybe I should stop telling my mom that she should get Keratin. I’m never sure why it’s so difficult to please our parents. It isn’t that we go out of our way to not please them. It’s that we go out of our way to please ourselves. As the filial generation, that is what we are programmed to do. Pleasing others will never be a necessity until we have others to please. Then, we find our own little ones pissing us off.
I always try to convey this point to my mom when she’s angry with me. When I was younger and we argued, I would run to my room and cry for hours at a time. Now, I never cry anymore. Instead I stand there stone cold and reply to every sentence that trails out of her mouth. I refuse to give in and let her know that I may actually feel bad about whatever I did. Part of me does this because I want to show her that I’m not afraid anymore. Maybe we fight back because we’re so similar to our parents and watch the flaws in ourselves come to life in the form of a week-long grudge or an annoying habit (i.e. my father chewing loud enough to make me believe there could be an earthquake). Maybe we’re like this because we’re getting older; we’re getting closer to going from being the ones who listened to the ones who speak. I have to learn to yell somehow, and I suppose my mother is my first victim. My daughter will be my second.
For the remaining three hours of our flight home, I kept repeating the thought over and over again in my head: we’re so fiery because we have no one to teach lessons to yet besides each other. So, we bicker amongst ourselves and talk back to our parents. We tell our mothers that they should get a Moroccan oil treatment to calm their troll doll-esque hair instead of rewarding them with a small compliment for wearing ballet flats instead of clogs. (Just kidding, Mom–I don’t think your hair is reminiscent of a troll doll’s, I promise!!! But don’t get me started on the clogs……..)