Things Not to Tell My Mother

As you may remember, my mom won the wildly competitive “name that children’s book quote” contest a while back, competing against EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE ENTIRE INTERNET.* This entitled her to pick the subject of my next post.

Clever mom, she picked “Things you don’t tell your mother.” Sneaky, sneaky. Remember: this is the mother who can tell if I am menstruating by looking at a photograph of me in ski gear. Is this the kind of mother who needs to be told anything? Especially where EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THE ENTIRE INTERNET** can hear?


My wild and secret youth

And yet, I tell her all kinds of things. The things I don’t tell her are mostly either:

a) things that are exceedingly boring.

b) things about my vagina I only tell strangers in medical settings.

c) things she doesn’t need to know.

d) things I am giving her for Christmas.

Mom, do you really want to know any of these things?

There are a few secrets whose statute of limitations may be up. When I was four, I had a secret I kept from my mom. While she was nursing my sister and I was supposedly be listening to tapes and picking up any mouse guts our cat had left on the floor, I was actually climbing on top of the five gallon bucket of beans to reach the dried fruit, which I was eating, while ignoring any mouse guts I saw.  Turns out, though, not only did my mom know about this, she set up the pantry so that I would do it. And she totally knew I wasn’t menstruating, too.

I did keep a real secret from her for three months when I was five. It was a turquoise necklace and she found out about it at Christmas.

This one is more scandalous: when I was eleven, my friends and my sister and I would go swimming in Green Lake with no supervision. We would swim out to the dock and jump off. We figured we were safe, since we were on swim team. We were safe, coincidentally. So maybe it’s not so scandalous.

Then came teenageness, when I did many mysterious things, most of them mysterious to me as well. Like I stole a log from a National Park to Impress a Boy. After that, I did lots of mysterious things to Impress Boys. Most are category c). Or a).

One more: Mom, that orchid I gave you for Christmas in college that never bloomed? It came from the Trader Joe’s dumpster. But I think you already knew that.

* who happened to read The Friendly Moth.

** who happens to read The Friendly Moth, of course.



6 thoughts on “Things Not to Tell My Mother

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