Sunday, February 01, 2015

Bricks and mortar

She huffed and puffed and rolled her eyes but alas, her mother had become a brick house. Immovable.

“You're so mean!” the little wolf screamed as she stormed off, slamming doors as she went.

The walls trembled with each clattering thud.

The Pig just returned to the task at hand: slathering peanut butter on whole wheat sandwich bread, dutifully cutting the crusts off and making a hammer-shaped impression with a cookie-cutter.

“At least the boy, still piglet-like, is easily pleased,” she told herself, sealing the luncheon craftwork in a re-closable plastic bag and nestling it in among a banana and packet of fruit jells.

She had to admit, as a mother, she'd been dreading this moment.

Even though she'd been talking about it non-stop since her eldest was born -- a tiny little piglet, with a perfect little nose and ten little piggy toes – she wasn't prepared for the shift.

And now it was here. The emergence of strange shapes. Hair and angle in places that had been plump and pink. The low growl. The quick bark. The baring of teeth over so little provocation.

The change.

Mother and daughter. When did we become such strange creatures to one another?

Yesterday, I think? Last week.

“I know what I'm supposed to be doing,” she'll bark. “You don't have to keep REMINDING meeeee!”

Until I don't remind her. Then the tune changes:

“Why didn't you TELL me it was time for the bus? Now I'm going to be late and it's ALL. YOUR. FAULT!”

Honestly, I don't take it personally.

Oh sure, there are times the hair raises on the back of my neck and I bark back. But I know who I am. An adult. With an adult perspective on what it takes for a being to grow up.

I can't help but think of my own parents – my mother especially – and feel a sense of solidarity but not remorse. I can not be sorry. This is what has to happen. I know that, too.

I find it strange and comforting how we have to build our houses, all the same.

We're so busy doing other things, we tend to forget we've built our starter homes out of straw. But we are young. When the first strong wind knocks it down, we fortify it with sticks.

There's a point, of course, that we mourn for the loss of our cool, straw abode. It was light and airy, and sweetly fragrant. It would have been so quaint to raise children here. To bad the kids are allergic to the tall grasses.

The stick house seems better when the kids are toddling about. Marking up the walls with their crayons and your permanent markers. You just shave off little bits and everything's good as new.

But eventually even that wears thin. You hate saying no. But it strengths the house.

Then the teenagers move in with their sullen faces and alienating anthems. They are testing the waters right now, deciding which shade of black fits them best.

You, dear Pig, are merely part of the furnishings. Someone who makes the lunches.

You just need a thicker skin.

Yes … Brick-and-mortar … that's your best defense.

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