The Punchbowl

Mothers. Is there any woman on earth who doesn’t have an issue, of some kind, with their mom? I know that I do.

Nevertheless, to blog about certain issues I have with my mom feels somehow disingenuous; since it is such a big issue, it can easily overshadow all the otherwise good mothering that has occurred. To blog about the few problems I have with my mom while neglecting to mention the plethora of things that make our relationship good strikes me as unfair. Thus, I am now called upon to find a metaphor to describe my relationship with my mom that indicates both that the majority of her mothering was good, yet acknowledges the magnitude of her errors in some areas. Sadly, I have crafted a metaphor involving poo. So feel free to run away now.

My relationship with my Mom is like a punchbowl filled with really good punch, and also … some poo.

Sure, this is a gross and disgusting metaphor, but it’s the only one that seems to really fit. Mom and I are now, after years of strife, at the point where the poo has settled to the bottom of the bowl. If you don’t stir it, you can easily get punch that doesn’t have any recognizable poo. Sure, it’s there, but it can be ignored because you really cannot taste it or see it. The punch in and of itself is yummy, after all. In fact, 90% of what’s in the punchbowl is wonderful, so I would be an ungrateful twerp if all I did was whine about the 10% that is poo.

This punch is not for everyone, obviously. You have to grow up drinking the punch, and have reconciled yourself to the fact that in order to get the punch, you must accept that there is the possibility of poo in your cup. It would doubtless gross other people out, but they don’t understand the quality of the punch. The punch is good enough that it inspires a person keep drinking it, even if there is poo in there too. And it helps that my Mom understands that if she stirs the punch to get a reaction from me, then she will be truly sorry when I find poo in my cup, because I will unleash my inner hell-beast and that thing can rip hide off your ass faster than a school of piranhas.

As I blogged about last week, my mom wants me to bring my children to the family reunion, knowing that there will be child molesters there. This, as it always does and always will, stirred the poo. I (metaphorically) smacked her in the face with the punch ladle. She quit stirring. The poo has settled back down to the bottom, and we can both enjoy some more punch.

The main difference between my outlook on our mother-daughter relationship and how Mom sees it is that I know there is poo in the punch, and drink it anyway because it is some awesome punch. My poor Mom just wants us to pretend there is no poo at all. My refusal to pretend … well, it’s hard on her from an emotional perspective. So I am not the only one who hurts when the stirring happens.

Will my relationship with Lilo, Stitch and Spock be this complex? Will they consider my punch to be worth drinking? What if there’s no poo, but the punch is just crappy and mostly yucky sherbet residue?

I’m gonna go give them lots of hugs and kisses. Because I need to work on my punch recipe.

Just in case.

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