the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Three generations

Yesterday when Leta got home from school she sat down at the island in the kitchen to have a snack and tell me about her day. I like to give her some down time before practicing piano, homework, and fixing me a hot dog.


She was telling me about the books she had checked out at the library when I got a text from my mother, and can I just take this opportunity to sing a hallelujah unto the Lord, Our God, Savior of the world even though technically I am not worthy to do so? My mom is TEXTING. This… this changes everything. She is notoriously incapable of talking for more than thirty seconds on the phone, so this medium is perfect for her. You know, just a quick four word text here, a “yes” and “I’m fine” there. I feel like she is Marie and she just found her Donny.

I don’t know if you saw the photo I posted of the girls engaged in a warm embrace yesterday, but sometimes I like to play around with my family because I know that they are reading my site. The dynamic in my family is full of humor, so I can be sure that when my staunchly conservative father pulls up this post and reads, “I once had lunch with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,” he will know that I wrote it just for him. And he will smirk and resist the urge to call me a turd out loud.

It’s true. I did once have lunch with Harry Reid. We talked about knitting. You should have seen his sweater.

Anyway. I asked Leta to give me one second while I read my mother’s text:

butthead text

Of course I started laughing, and Leta asked me what was so funny. I explained that I had written something on my website to pull my mother’s chain and it had worked. She didn’t understand, so I continued, “I wrote something to make her roll her eyes, and I’m laughing because she called me a butt head.”

“She called you a butt head?!” she screamed, completely unable to comprehend how the Avon World Sales Leader could expose such a dark side.

“It’s okay,” I said. “We joke around with each other like that. It’s actually pretty funny.”

“Mom,” she said, her arms crossed authoritatively over her chest. “It is NOT OKAY.”

“It’s not?” I asked.

“She called you a butt head. The next time I see her I am going to tell her that she needs to apologize to you.”

“You are?”

“Yes. Of course,” she said. “That is not a nice thing to call someone.”

“You’re right,” I told her. “You tell Grandmommy that she needs to find some manners.”

Mom, Leta has a few things to say to you, and when she asks you why you let me quit piano lessons but I won’t let her quit, just know that when she asked me the same question I told her it was because you didn’t love me. And that I had to sleep in the shed.

  • Beth

    2013/01/10 at 2:37 pm

    What did Harry Reid say about knitting? Does he knit? Do you? (Hahahaha.) Inquiring knitters want to know.

  • Gail Burgess Wix

    2013/01/10 at 3:44 pm

    being of your mother’s generation, you had me laughing hysterically. Leta is such a sweetheart.

  • Josey

    2013/01/10 at 3:50 pm

    I wish I could be a fly on the wall at your parent’s house when they’re reading your latest posts. 🙂

  • London Scarves Wholesaler Shop

    2013/01/10 at 4:44 pm

    What a warm story it is! It is so simple, at the moment I feel sad and guilty. My grandma died 2 years ago, the last minute I saw her she couldn’t recognize me. I am far away from my parents. I am always busy for my life. Sometimes when I sit down, I feel I miss many things in my life. When I passed home, I didn’t stop to go home, just passed and continued my work. How many times my parents and grandma told me, please came home, we missed you. And my answer always I was busy, I couldn’t go home. Now everything seems to be changed, my grandma passed away, my parents far away from me.

  • Jen Wilson

    2013/01/10 at 6:17 pm

    Hahahaha!! Oh my, that is hilarious. I think my eldest would react the same way. I love that you tease your parents in your posts. My mother is much too sensitive for those sorts of things.

  • Ingrid

    2013/01/10 at 8:07 pm

    I like that Leta is not afraid to tell an adult what’s what. 🙂

  • Molly

    2013/01/10 at 10:45 pm

    The last sentence of your post got me.

    I have one Daughter and her name is Jenna.

    When Jenna was 12 years old she came up to me in the middle of the school year and told me that she wanted to quit band (she played the clarinet) and wanted to join the “computer” class that just opened up at her school. I had just purchased a computer for her recently (1999.) She fell in love with it.

    I told her that “yes” she could “quit” the music class but not until the year was over because you don’t “quit” after making the decision to take a course, you take it until the end, you don’t stop mid stream, you enjoy the experience and when it’s over you decide whether you want to do it again or move on.


    Needless to say I ended that evening with a 12 year old girl writhing on the floor wanting desperately for her Mother to give in.

    But I did not.

    What did I do?

    I put on Etta James. Etta James.

    I just sang it to her, stepped over her and did not give in.

    When the new school year started…..she re-upped for band and she stayed in band until graduation.

    What is she doing now?

    Data Entry for a company in Houston, Tx……LOL.

  • Hande

    2013/01/11 at 6:28 am

    so good to see the beginnings of what Leta will become: one of those commenters here to whom you and the others tell to have a cookie. Life is a vicious cycle.

  • Amid Privilege

    2013/01/12 at 3:18 pm

    In case you ever wonder, the sane and good people of this world love you.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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