Yes, my post today is late. My apologies. Today’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, for reasons I may go into in a future blog post. For now, on to the challenge (and, for the previously mentioned reason, sorry if today’s post seems disjointed or – god forbid – you find any typos ).
Now, do I write about my adoptive mother, or my biological mother? I think, to keep things positive, I’ll stick with my adoptive mother.
While I was growing up, my mom had to put up with all the typical mom stuff: piles of dirty laundry on the floor, cups and dishes left everywhere, snakes in the pond eating her fish — WAIT, what was that last one?
I grew up in Southern California, in Lakeside (east county San Diego), which, if it isn’t actually IN the Mojave Desert, is certainly close enough to share its climate. And its flora and fauna.
So in addition to the average mothering stuff, my mother had to also put up with snakes. And spiders (blowtorches are great for Black Widows…). And lizards, and groundhogs, and scorpions, and coyotes, and large birds of prey (which could easily snatch up a small dog…).
She did come up with some unique solutions to living in the near-desert though. I remember that because the heat would rot a typical jack-o-lantern quicker than you could blink, we often just left the pumpkin intact and painted the outside. A couple of years, Mom made snowmen out of white-painted tumbleweeds.
At a certain point in my childhood, my mother decided I was big enough to go and help handle the ‘critter’ problem. This, I’m afraid, only exacerbated the problem. Now, the snakes and spiders and lizards and scorpions were brought INTO the house (that’s what happens when you send an adolescent boy to play with creepy-crawlies…), instead of staying outside.
That my mother survived my and my siblings’ adolescences without a heart attack is remarkable, and is to be applauded. I remember the big kerfuffle when my anole lizard (named Todd [anoles are a type of chameleon that go from green to brown]) got loose and hid in one of the armchairs in the living room. I remember the wary look on her face as I relaxed on the couch with a fully grown tarantula hanging out on my chest (named Farrah – the scientific family name is theraphosidae: theraphosidae, Farrah Fawcett…). I remember the uproar that ensued after I “helped” my sister get very up close and personal with the snake I’d recently fished out of the pond, and my mother forcing me to release it just after.
And when I found a scorpion on my pillow and sealed it in a jar as part of an experiment, she handled it pretty well. For a week. Then I was forced to let the hapless scorpion go outside.
So, Mom… thanks for putting up with me and my ‘pets’.
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