It had been a few years between Mom-administered writing assignments. The last one was from 1981/2 (wherein I got to first exercise my bullshitting chops as a 3rd/4th grader), and this was being from 1986, which puts me squarely mid-8th grade.
The circumstances surrounding this one are a little unclear, other than that all 4 of us kids knew mom had likely screwed up.
Four kids, ages ranging from 5 years to almost 14. As far as personality traits go, we had The Sneak, The Goody-goody, The Instigator, and The I Will Not Put Up With Your Stupid Clown Ass Crap (sometimes known as "The Enforcer"). I will not name names on the first 3, but I was #4, and I will say, not with pride, that my self-righteousness did get me into the mix (verbally, physically) with the person who chapped my ass that day. I had wanted things to be fair and right (and er, my way?) and if my mom wasn't going to call out the offender- she called it "choosing your battles" (if you could hear me go in my best Phil Dunphy voice: "LAME"), I didn't have a problem finding the energy and resource required to bring the perp to justice (I was, after all, the oldest).
The point is, we were not quite The Waltons.
Whatever happened this day in December 1986 though, from what I can piece from memory and the clues in my essay, Mom had thought we had done (touched) something, and sent us into our rooms. I'm sure there was yelling about this. I'm sure I did my fair share of it, too. At one point, as we're sitting in our rooms, she was in the hallway and noticed that linen hall closet (also near our rooms) had been slammed shut so hard, that the door was actually pushed INTO the closet. It didn't break the door, but that is getting some serious speed behind your door slam.
She called us out into the hallway and yelled, "WHO DID THIS?" and all four of us were like, "Uh, not me." And it was the truth. Unfortunately, she was not buying it. The fact of the matter was, it was our mother who had slammed that door so hard it went inward. But do you really think we'd point that out to a woman who had fire shooting out her eyes?
And so with that and with the threat of a canceled Christmas looming over our heads, found ourselves yet again writing our Spirit of Christmas essays.
And once again, I found myself with little to say on the subject, but having 2 pages to fill, I had to come up with some nonsense.
The first paragraph was me taking on a "You want an essay? Oh, I Will GIVE YOU An Essay," stance. I employed a very clinical, calculating, almost dictionary-like framework, including underlining words I would define, parenthetical thoughts, quotation marks and other fun gibberish. I also see I threw in an "etc.". Nice. It's clearly fluff and I was well aware of that. It actually sounds like the wedding toast Joey Tribbiani first thought to give Chandler & Monica (all the "caring and sharing" and "sharing and caring with the love" business).
A few favorite lines:
"Loving is not fighting and putting up with certain habits because you care for someone and it doesn't matter because love comes naturally." What on earth? I think what I was trying to say was, despite the fact that x-sibling can be a total dickwad, because they are your bro/sister and will be so for life, get over it and just love them already.
"Sharing is giving and not being greedy. Not necessarily items but love and feelings (proud, happy, sorrow, etc.)" Okay, some more bullshit filler, but I highlight this one because who finds my use of parenthesis there hilariously adorable? My sister read this to me on the phone when she found it, and lost it.
Apparently, I could only stretch the Christmas stuff a full paragraph, so I decided to shift gears and go a different direction. I chose what it meant to be a family. It would seem I took that task quite literally.
"Motherhood" (this should be good) "Motherhood is something that you are given and is a responsibility not to be taken for granted. ...It is a tough job but somebody has to do it. The mother stands as the discipliner (ed. note: totally a word) and if feels the need for her own rules is allowed to be "the boss" and make decisions."
"The Children. The children are the children and are self explanatory." How I've gotten this far in life and not received any fancy awards for writing, well, it defies all logic.
"Since I am a child (daughter) (ed note: heh.) I know from previous experience (ed note: double "heh") that children screw up.
Okay, now I'm about to casually set her up to realize she may have biffed this one:
"But, I know if there are more than one child that mix ups occur. Today someone touched some things I my conscience knows for a fact that I didn't do it." I think I'm so pissed here, I was just running with whatever was in my head- proofreading be damned.
"But I don't have any proof of it so she (mother) has no idea who the heck did it. ("Listen, I didn't do it, and if I did, I'd totally let you know.") ...is harder for people to see it if there are an abundance of them. ("But I recognize you've got your work cut out here, so I'm cutting you a little slack. That said, this instance might be a rare moment where your heathen children didn't do it.)
"Today I touched NOTHING that wasn't mine." ("I believe I've made my point here, woman.")
"I screwed up at the end (I'm sure I "calmly, reasonably and concisely" expressed my displeasure with being sent to my room for something I had nothing to do with thereby not adding to the mayhem) but someone (that would be you, ...MOM) didn't see that it wasn't all (any) my fault.
I'd come to learn that it was my essay that turned the tide and "saved Christmas" that year. I was many things, but she knew a liar wasn't one of them. And with my judge & jury personality, she knew that I would have quickly ratted a sister/brother out in a situation like this. It also finally dawned on her that all of us were being straight with her about the door, and that "perhaps" the only other person besides me who had that kind of strength and love for slamming things, was her. Yeah, she knew.
Do you think she admitted that last bit in 1986?