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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jewish Mothers, Masters of Guilt and their Gentile Apprentices, My Children

By Jody Worsham May 2010All rights reserved for therapy

Living in the deep piney woods of Texas for the past forty-six years, I have met two Jewish mothers. Everything I ever wanted to know about guilt, I learned from them. That is why I can recognize that my five-year-old and my eight-year-old are their gentile apprentices.

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop in Dayton, Ohio. Now this would be the first time in the entire life of the five-year-old that I would be away longer than my daily three hour trip to Wal-Mart. First I was hit with “I love you, please don’t go” accompanied by his sad puppy dog face followed by the eight-year-olds “Can’t they come here, I will miss you” dramatic pause as she looks upward and slightly stage right. “I love you, too, and no they can’t come here” I replied.

“Do you have to go?” from the five-year-old as he forces a tear to cascade down his cheek catching the light from the overhead lamp just at the right angle. Hmmm?
Do I have to go? My golden years are being spent under the Golden Arches eating Happy Meals. I have to carry their passports to prove that I am their mother and their names are not Viagra and Cialis. I haven’t slept a single night in the past five years without having a full body massage from the now five-year-old dreaming of Kung Fu fighting and trying to find his “spot” for sleeping. I’ve sold a kazillion Girl Scout Cookies so the eight-year-old could receive a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee and a charm. I’ve sat on cold hard aluminum bleachers for hours watching clue-less little boys play Tee ball while their agent/moms held cell phones up to the fence screaming “Your Dad wants to talk to you NOW”.

“Yes, I have to go” and I smiled. “But I have a game on Thursday”, wails the five-year-old. “My spelling test is Friday but I’m sure one of the other mother’s will be able to help me, if I ask nicely” says the other apprentice. “Who will take me to the birthday party on Saturday?” chimes in the younger apprentice. “You do have another parent in the house. It’s not like I am abandoning you” I reason. Their intense Jewish training picks up on the slight hesitation in my voice. They go in for the kill. “But he won’t tell me good bedtime stories like you do.” “And what if he forgets to pick me up after the birthday party” says the other one. All real possibilities and for just a nano-second I almost change my plans.

Then I remember. We aren’t Jewish. We’re Methodists! Erma BombeckWriters Workshop, here I come!

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