I will never forget the taste of that dirty bar of soap my mother used to wash my mouth with after I stuck my tongue out at her in a childish act of rebellion against doing the dishes. She scrubbed that dirty bar, the one she used to wash those dishes, so passionately across my tongue that when she was finally finished scrubbing and removed the bar of soap from my mouth, the bar was no longer white, but red. My tongue was numb and I couldn't taste anything for two days.
Not being able to taste my favorite foods for two whole days taught me a serious and valuable lesson. All actions have consequences and the act committed always dictates the consequence's response. The more disrespectful the act, the dirtier the soap bar. Once those gruesome two days passed and the taste of food reluctantly returned to my tongue, I was able to reflect on the disrespect I gave and I managed to bring myself to offer an apology.
That was the first and last time my tongue was ever aimed at my mother in protest and it was the first time I witnessed the consequences of my actions, but it would certainly not be the last. It was also the day I fell in love with washing dishes.
- I was five years old.
Hide and Seek
The coming school year was right around the corner and I was in dire need of new outfits and sneakers. My parents took me and my sister shopping at the local mall, my sister also needed new outfits, this why dad had to come. Once we arrived at the mall, we split into two groups, mom with sister, dad with son. My parents quickly devised a tactical plan amongst themselves which included a final meet time and where to rendezvous for lunch. My father then broke the huddle and we were off. I mainly needed new sneakers, socks and underwear so Footlocker was my first destination. My mother insisted that this was the year I would evolve my wardrobe. Which meant I was not allowed to leave the mall without buying a dress shirt, at least a shirt with a collar. But sneakers came first.
After a successful trip to Footlocker where I was able to get the new pair of Nike's in all black with a white swoosh, four pairs of low cut socks and three pairs of black boxer briefs, we made our way to the Macy's, located at the far end of the upper corridor of the mall. It was a quiet day at the mall, so I decided to sprint down the long, wide open hallway, leaving my dad in the dust. Once I got to the entrance of the department store, I could hear my father yelling from afar telling me to slow down and to wait for him, but I had too much adrenaline flowing which made it easy to defy his wishes, so I ventured inside and hunted for signs that advertised "Dress Clothes".
Spotting the sign I was searching for, I weaved myself through various clothing racks in the different sections of the store. They were all pretty boring, your standard clothing sections filled with racks and shelves of boring clothes. But the "Young Kids" section had all of the entertainment. It had cozy couches, interactive rugs, a coloring book station and a flatscreen television playing some educational PBS program about protecting Earth's oceans. The interactive rugs and coloring book station interested me very little, but the television program captivated me. They were showing wales, sharks, dolphins, barrier reefs and even views of the oceans from outer space. There were a few loud children playing on the rugs, so I maneuvered myself into the inner core of one of the circular standing clothing racks, showcasing the new flexible waistband dress pant, to watch the program in peace. There I sat, eyes locked onto the television as I drowned out the world around me.
Lost in trance as I watched Humpback wales breaching right beside tiny fishing boats, I began to hear the faint echoes of a commotion. This soon proved to be true because the television abruptly shut off and a deep voice thundered over the store's intercom, speaking my name, speaking to me. The voice exclaimed that my parents are looking for me and If I can hear this message, to come to the cash registers right away. Fearing the worst, not for them but for me, I was quickly realizing the predicament I was in and how much trouble I was about to accept with open arms. I exited the safety of the clothing rack and hustled my ass to the cash registers. I will never forget the looks on both of my parent's faces. Relief and excitement in my mother's, stress and fury in my father's. Not to say that my father was not relieved nor excited for my discovery, but he was responsible for me and he lost me, apparently for a good twenty minutes. I was truly disengaged from the world. All because of that incredible PBS program about oceans.
The drive home was quiet. No one said a world aside from the occasional giggle from my younger sister, giggling at the impending punishments I would receive once we returned home. I will never forget my parents faces, the televised amber alert, the locked down department store, the five mall security guards and the two local cops who all came at the request of my mother. She feared for my life so she did everything in her power to amass the largest force she could to find me. I always knew she and my dad loved me and my sister, but that was the day I learned what unconditional love was all about. She would do anything to ensure our safety, no matter the cost, no matter the risk. That was the first and final day I ever tried to hide from my parents, but it would not be the last time I would try to runaway. It was also the day I fell in love with the oceans.
- I was 9 years old.
During my time in elementary school, I craved fast food, especially french fries. We lived in a small town outside of Boston, 15 minutes from a McDonalds. Each day after school, I would beg, barter and basically try anything I could to convince my mother to stop by McDonalds for french fries before going home. She stood her ground most of the time, but I had a tendency to be real nasty, they called it a phase, but that phase tended to work in my favor. She would succumb and take us to the local McDonalds. She knew it wasn't healthy, she knew her child was manipulating her, but she took me anyway. Back then I thought I had this child power over my mother because all I really had to do was cause a scene and she would usually let me have my way so I would stop being an immature ass. Except when she was already in a bad mood prior to picking me up, I knew when to pick my battles for the french fries.
Looking back, I realize I had no power at all. She, had all of the power. She had the simple, yet super power to offer me the delicious happiness I was so terribly craving. She knew it wasn't the best option, but she disregarded the moral aspect and just did what she had to do to put a smile on my hungry face. My love for McDonalds has fleeted over the years, but the love for my mother's passion to make and keep me happy has only flourished. She taught me that sometimes you do what you have to in order to keep the ones you love the most, happy.
- Ages 12-15
My mother, along with mothers across our planet, have taught all of us valuable, important and cherished values. They have been sharing their unyielding wisdom with us from the day we are born until the day death takes us from one another. The lessons I value the most from the teachings my mother has bestowed upon me over the course of my childhood and through adolescence are the three mentioned above:
1. All actions have equal weighted consequences.
2. Unconditional love trumps all things.
3. Happiness is the key.
As an adult, I apply those three lessons to every situation I encounter. They have molded me into the man I have become today. Without them, I would be without her and without her, I would not exist. My mother is the anchor to my drifting ship. She is the moon to my Earth and the stars in my sky. She will always be the light at the end of my tunnel when the world goes dark. Her values will stay with me and will continue to grow with me as I continue to evolve as a human being. They are lessons I will bestow upon my own children, they are values my children will pass on to theirs, and so on and so forth. My mother will live forever because the wisdom she passed down will continue to circulate the planet until the planet is no more.
Thank you mom for being MY mom and thank you to EVERY mom out there in the universe. We would not exist without you.
- Your Son, with unconditional love.
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!