I have a strange relationship with my mother, always have. I know she loves me and would do just about anything for me -- and I feel the same way -- but personality-wise, when I was growing up, she and I tended to be like oil and water. She was very overprotective -- some would say controlling -- and I was very independent.
I was also somewhat of a Daddy's girl, which I think bothered her. For many years, she was a stay-at-home mom, and, to some extent, I think she expected some loyalty. But instead, according to the family mythology, starting at a very early age I would say things like "Daddy's home now, you can leave," and drive her to tears.
It was bad when I was in high school.
Even now, after I've been out of her house for all of these years -- since I was 17 -- I still have problems getting her to let go of some things. For example, she just won't let me have my birth certificate, even though I've asked for it a bunch of times. She always says she'll do it, but conveniently forgets, or ignores me, or something. It's clearly psychological -- like she needs to keep it, just to prove that she's still the mom.
Lucky for me, I haven't run into a situation -- yet -- where my driver's license or passport hasn't been sufficient.
Anyway, she always talks about all of these things that she's kept from me, over the years, but rarely lets me see them, and even more rarely, lets me have them. She always says she will, but like the birth certificate, it just never happens. And, trust me, I ask.
Last Thanksgiving -- my birthday -- I was visiting them in Florida, and she pulled out this giant box filled with stuff that I didn't remember. One of the things was a Mother's Day essay I had written for her in elementary school. I didn't remember it -- or pretty much any of the cards or things I had given her throughout the years. I did, however, remember making the paper flowers in art class.
She then told me about some story that she had found from when I was a kid. She didn't show it to me. But she promised that she would get it to me.
As usual, nothing.
When I was down in Florida a couple weeks ago, she mentioned the story again. I asked her for a copy. She said she'd look for it at some point. I assumed she had forgotten, but this evening, after a lovely dinner with some friends, I got home and found a letter. It was a photocopy of the story.*
Based on the handwriting -- relatively neat printing and no cursive -- I most likely wrote it in first or second grade. And I illustrated it too.
Here it is, for your viewing pleasure.
It's got all the elements of a great sci-fi horror movie: Gigantic lizard monsters, space ships, martians -- and most importantly, candy bars! I should have sold the screenplay.
*Actually, it was a copy of the the story and a check completely unrelated to anything of mine. I think she just sent me an extra page, but I'll have to talk to her tomorrow to confirm.