For this author, creative endeavors have been sorely tested by motherhood. But also transformed, and in ways she wouldn’t have imagined – couldn’t have, without her life “rewritten” as it has been, by her children. So linger here, to read all things weaverly, writerly and motherly.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Trifecta Writing Challenge: TROUBLE



"Trouble" he knew best from when his mother warned him not to steal Batman croc charms from the Stride Rite bin.

But the actual meaning of the other "trouble" he came to know without really knowing the word for it: the way his mother could look even during one of his thumb magic tricks.

Maybe she could look that way because she knew how the plastic thumb worked, having bought it for him herself. But he had taught himself new tricks, and she liked to see them except when she was cooking dinner or picking up after him. "I'd have time for tricks, if you'd hang your coat up yourself. ..."

So he tried to pick a time when she wasn't busy – after she'd just hung up with his elderly grandmother and she was just sitting at the table. She'd been bent into the phone, trying to explain something about a Visa card: "No, Mom," she'd said. "You can't do that, just charge the balance back to your card. That's why you're getting charged interest. You need to write a check, from your checking account..." Her forehead would be resting in one hand. There were other such phone calls, as when his grandmother couldn't open a precooked chicken.

But when she was just sitting there at the table, staring at the wall, he decided she wasn't busy and he could show her his new thumb trick.

"Sure," she said, sounding tired. She folded her arms on the table to play audience. Yet she wasn't as attentive as on the phone. She pretended surprise when he whipped a tissue out from behind her ear. Then she just looked at him as blankly as she had stared at the wall.

He slipped his thumb back into his pocket. Maybe he should have done one of his disappearing coin tricks instead. But by the way she still sat there even after he left the room, he didn't think it would have mattered.

 

21 comments:

KAT said...

Just how we have all felt so many times. Great story!

Libby said...

Ah...poor little guy. Now, I am wracking my brains wondering if I have ever been so busy that I've just ignored my kids like that :(

Hope not.

Well written - I really felt for him.

November Rain - k~ said...

Nicely done, looks like this was no trouble for you at all ;-)

KAT said...

I love your blog. Please pick up the award I have left for you on my blog. Kat

http://myviewthroughkateyes.blogspot.com/2012/05/woohoo-another-award-and-another.html

mywordwall said...

I've been like the mother in this story many times. Ahh, how sad for the boy.

This is a nice piece. :-)

~Imelda

Jennifer Worrell said...

Poor woman--caring for parents is so hard. She's sandwiched right in between. She deserves a massage!

Sharon Greenthal said...

I'm sorry the little boy didn't get the attention he wanted but you know what? Stuff happens. He'll get over it! That mother has a lot on her plate - including the cooked chicken! Very good post.

lindavernon said...

I love the way you captured the little boy's interpretation of his mother's preoccupation. If only he had a better trick she would cease her worrying . . . maybe . . .

Well done! :)

OldDogNewTits said...

Ditto what Jennifer said. Right in the middle. Sigh.

OldDogNewTits said...

Ditto what Jennifer said. Right in the middle. Sigh.

Nice characterization.

Jenn said...

I wonder how many times I've preoccupied over the years?? I always want to pay attention--as my kids are so precious--yet--I can't help but wonder...

I know after reading this I'll be more conscious!! Cheers, Jenn

Sandi Holland said...

Hi Sandra:

Poignant slice-of-life. I'm sort of in that now, but son is grown though, 35. Mother is 73.

Where is Trifecta challenge? I'll look in your sidebar too.

Annabelle said...

Poor kid, and poor mom! They pick up more than we expect, even if they don't understand it all. Nicely done.

Kathy said...

Such a wonderful story and one I can relate to all to well!!

Kathy
http://gigglingtruckerswife.blogspot.com

Swirls said...

So sadly relateable. Very well captured!

Sherri Lackey said...

Now, I want to know more about what is going on in his mother's mind. Nice writing!

jannatwrites said...

This is so sad - especially because that was me earlier tonight when I was on the phone with tech support and my son wanted to show me his picture he drew for the 18th time.

Trifecta said...

You've captured this dilemna really well. It's not easy being 'stuck in the middle' and you bring that out. I like this a lot. Thanks for linking up.

Michele Davidson said...

I have so been there... ugh!!

Sandi Holland said...

Sandra I did find Trifecta Challenge blog. Congrats on the Trifecta post above.

Jester Queen said...

Oh. I love this new chapter. It's the story of how your mother's aging affects even the kids. And I love the intro line about "not to steal Batman croc charms from the Stride Rite bin." That difference between a child's troubles and an adults and how close this son is running to that line between childhood and adulthood. And you are the mother who sits at the table trying so hard to engage him.

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