Friday, May 27, 2005


My mother was a good mom, insofar as was possible for her, and that meant that when all was said and done, she was good. She created an example in many ways, and taught us strong values. She was effusive in her praise for us, but every now and then the act would falter.

I was the youngest, and the only boy. When I was in kindergarten, there was that time when some friend of hers said "So, now all of yours are in school?" My mom said "Yes!" with an enthusiastic hiss, and drew in her clenched fist. I asked her about it later. It seemed to me that she was glad to have us away. She said no, I misunderstood, she was just proud of us, and happy for us, is all. I accepted that. But the gleeful hiss, and the gesture, stayed with me in memory. Now I understand.

Then there was the time, perhaps even before kindergarten, that some other kids and I did our ritual running in circles, throwing our arms in the air, and yelling. We loved it. The various moms at that event usually asked us not to do it, but we did it anyway. Some other mom said something about packing up the little monsters, and my mom agreed, using the same word, "monster." Later when we were in the car I asked her, "Mom, I'm not a monster, am I?"

The odd thing about it is that, though I a pressed her on the issue several times, she just kept her jaw clamped shut and drove. Most parents would have said something like, "Oh, no, Honey. We were just making a little joke."

Then there was the time, after my own kids were born, that I was standing in the kitchen with her, at this house, telling her how wonderful it was to be a parent, and how miraculous kids were. She looked at me and said something which I may not quote perfectly here, but which was in effect: "You were a nightmare to raise. An absolute nightmare."

She's never said anything like that before, and I doubt she remembers, or would admit, saying it at all. The facade rarely slips.

As I said before, she was a good mother, and constantly supportive of us. I never got into any serious trouble as a kid, and was meek and bookish, despite having quite an independent and rebellious way of thinking and talking. Let's put it this way: I always did my homework and my chores, no matter what teenage nonsense came out of my mouth. And as a young child I was profoundly obedient, despite mouthing off whenever possible. If that sounds like a contradiction, I hope you can cope with it. It's no great wound, but on rare occasions I do still think about the contradiction of being raised and loved so well by a mother who apparently hated doing it.

Gozar update

'Gozar' is a great kid currently in the Army in Iraq. He's smart and conscientious, has been giving shoes to little kids over there. I wish all our soldiers were like him.

Now Susan Johnston reports:

Thought you would like to know that the US Army shut down Joe's (Gozar's) blog site for now, and until further notice, he isn't allowed to post. I suppose the comments about the anniversary of the "end of the war" and Bush angered some....

Keep in mind this is just a theory, though a plausible one. I think this was the post in question:

And counting
Two years ago today President Bush stood on an aircraft carrier off the Persian Gulf and declared "mission accomplished." Since that speech 1449 American soldiers have died here in Iraq. Though strides have been taken, a successful election, stabalized infrastructure, etc., from where I stand the mission is not yet accomplished. As long as American men and women continue to lose life and limb I’ll have a very diffucult time calling this war a success. The cost of our campaign here continues to rise daily. Though two years have passed since Bush declared an end to major combat, we are still here and are very much still engaged in major combat. I know that to many people this war has grown old. We grow tired of hearing politicians speak of it, and we often wish the news would find something new to cover. But please don’t forget that we are here and that we are still fighting. It is up to you to decide for yourself whether this war has been worth the price, but for better or worse we are seeing this one through.

Left grip is 40 pounds (37, 38, 40), right grip is 100 pounds (90, 100, 95), left leg balance is 12.02 seconds, and inhale volume is 4750 mL. That second right grip result made me suspicious, so I went and watched the third one in the mirror. It seemed legitimate.

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