Cuffed.

As I was slipping on the most perfect bracelet that untitledhusband had gifted me with for Valentine’s Day, I got to thinking about the last bracelet I had worn. It was one of those mother’s bracelets with your child’s name spelled out in square silver beads. It was the Girl Scout badge of motherhood, and every new mother I knew wore one. But I loved it just the same.

I had made the bracelet myself, right after the birth of untitledson. Even though I was back to my corporate whoredom (a much easier gig than being a stay-at-home mother, trust me), I felt the inexplicable urge to let everyone know that my heart was actually sitting in a bouncy seat, burping up fountains of $22 per can formula and filling his diapers with Chihuahua-size poops.

However common it was, this bracelet was special to me. Whether I was debating which flavor of shredded wheat to buy or filling out an expense report at work, it reminded me how all of this mundaneness was for him. If all this would allow untitledson to grow up happy, healthy and able to afford things like Tivo and sandwich bags with zippers, it was worth it. Even on the weekends when I was wearing my holey sweats and socks with the purple paint splotches on them, I wore the bracelet.

It was on one of these lazy Sundays that it occurred to me — my mother must love me with this same big, audacious, consuming love. Knowing that my mother must love me as much as I love untitledson, well, it kind of blew me away. I mean, while I was having all these venomous thoughts about her, she was sitting somewhere, overflowing with this same love, wishing she could hug me and kiss my ears, or just be near me. Jesus, what kind of monster was I, to write things like this and this about her, for all the world to see?

In this cloud of motherly love, I invited her down for the weekend. I thought we could go to the local bead store and make a mother’s bracelet for her. It would be my way of saying, “I now know. And now, you know I know. You know?” It was truly the circle of life (cue Lion King song), the fulfillment of that mother-daughter bond. To see your child love as you have loved her, what could be more monumental than that?

After convincing her that, yes, hand-picking each bead and stringing them one-by-one was indeed more fulfilling that purchasing one at Kay’s, we headed to the bead store. As we were choosing the letter beads, she asked, “Whose name should I put on here?” I said, “Well, you can put untitledson’s name, or the name of your other grandchild, or even both. Or, you could put my name on there. Or untitledsister’s name. Or both. Whatever you like.”

Imagine my surprise, as missplaced as it was, when she chose to put HER name on the bracelet. Holy shit! Had anyone ever put their OWN name on a mother’s bracelet before? I thought maybe I should tell her that these kinds of bracelets are meant to honor those you love. But on second thought, I decided not to say anything. Perhaps her bracelet did feature the name of the one she loved the most. And far be it from me to stand in the way of her artistic vision.

From what I understand, she ended up only wearing the bracelet two or three times after her co-workers informed her of how unique it was. Did she take it as a sign from the gods that perhaps her priorities were a wee bit fucked up? If it did, it didn’t motivate her to change her lifestyle one little bit. If she learned anything, it was probably this: when in doubt, buy your jewelry from Kay’s.

14 thoughts on “Cuffed.”

  1. Can I be honest with you? When you started the post I immediately thought oh no…now they’ll get along all the time and be best friends and we won’t get funny posts. Then I finished the post and was glad we dodged a bullet.

    Is that bad?

  2. Wow. I hope you realize how great it is that you have not inherited your mothers selfishness. That has to be such a relief to you and sooooo sad at the same time. It will be interesting to see what happens when mom gets old and needs help. Happened to my self centered aunt and guess what~~she was amazed that her kids didnt rush to her side. What goes around comes around. The ironic thing is she is probably VERY proud of you and loves you very much but she is afraid it may actually kill her to let you in on the secret.

  3. Meaningful post and a word of caution to all us mothers.

    On a lighter note:
    I found this custom very cute since we (Greeks living in Greece) don’t have “mother’s bracelets”.
    My youngest daughter (then, aged 8) and I were strolling through Monastiraki’s bead shops and she asked me to buy her square silver letter beads so she could make a necklace of her own name!
    That conceited brat!
    🙂

  4. Your mom is consistent in her self-centeredness and you’re consistent in always giving her the benefit of the doubt.

    Clearly, you are what she should be most proud of.

  5. I know I’m completely selfish but I can’t help wishing you posted everyday! I can’t wait for the next post and wind up clicking back way before it’s time–and yes the Crypt Baby Keeper kept scaring the fuck outta me everytime! Seriously. How can the picture of one person be so chilling to the blood?

  6. omg. we must be sisters. i have also had the recent discovery that although my mom is a bit, uh, self-absorbed. but i’ve decided that i just have to overlook it. but she would so pick her own name on a bracelet over me and my kids.

  7. notaclue – I would post more often. I would. But finding the time is difficult. Last night, when I was writing this post, I was laying on the couch, hacking up stuff that has no business being in someone’s mouth (got bronchitis right now), saying “I can’t do it. I can’t write another word!” That’s when untitledhusband took over preparing dinner and cleaning up, so I could write. Really, he’s the reason I’m able to do this at all. He keeps saying he believes in this thing — I don’t know what he means by that. I just keep writing. Hey, if it gets me out of doing dishes, what the hell.

    Jeez, if my mom only knew what a blogebrity she was. She doesn’t even know what a blog is. We got her hooked up online a few years ago. She kept saying, “It doesn’t work! Nothing shows up!” I kept saying, “OK Mom. Type in eonline.com. EONLINEDOTCOM.” Still, it didn’t work. I finally realized she wasn’t typing in the www.

  8. heya notaclue: it’s comments like yours that keep untitled going! thanks for the kind words.

    john: no need to worry. untitledmother and her ways will be creating blog fodder for a long time to come. you can take the trash out the trailer court, but you can’t take the trailer court out the trash. whatever that means.

  9. it’s very nice to classify my comments as kind when they are a thinly disguised jones for untitleds delicious verbage!

  10. well…they’re kind in that it makes untitled all fuzzy and warm inside to hear you want more.:)

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