Maj had a hard day yesterday.  I am not going to go into all of the details here, because it was not that funny.  Just imagine rage and anger and yelling and bitterness.  All aimed at me.  For an extended period of time, and at top volume.

Although there were a few funny moments . . .

Like when she came to me all sour and bitchy and said that she was ready to apologize.

“Yes, Maj?  Did you have something you wanted to say?”

“I am sorry that you are the sort of mother who feels the need to blame me for everything.”

Or when she came back to take another stab at the apology.

“Yes, Maj?”

“I am sorry that I spoke rudely to you.  Only I am not really sorry, I just know that you want to hear that I am sorry.  So can we just be done with this now?”

“Ummmm . . . no.”

Or this conversation, in which I try to speak with her about controlling her anger a little bit.

“Maj, you have to learn to take deep breaths and let some of this stuff go.  You hold a grudge longer and harder than anyone I know.”

“That’s how I am.”

“Ok, but don’t you see how this is wasting your time?  The last three hours, wasted, because your sister shot a rubber band over your head.  Are you kidding me?”

“That is not all that happened.”

“True, but everything that happened after that rubber band?  Is all on you.  You are the one who freaks out and escalates and makes everything worse.  You see that, don’t you?”

“Yes, but I am thinking that I am just like you.  I got this grudgy anger from you.”

“But I am not grudgy!  I am the opposite of grudgy where you are concerned.”

“Someone needs to look in a mirror and tell the truth sometime.”

“Seriously, Maj?  This is how you want to talk to me right now?”

“Hmmmmph.  I bet you were just like me when you were a kid.”

“I was not.  Seriously, Maj . . . I was not like this.  Ask Grandma.”

“I am not going to ask Grandma.  She will just lie.”

“What?  Why would she lie?”

“All grown-ups lie about their kids.  Everybody says their kids are amazing and perfect so that no one will think they are doing a bad job of being a mom.  Grandma will lie because she doesn’t want to take responsibility for who you have turned out to be.”

“Are you kidding me?  Grandma is all kinds of proud of how I turned out.”

“You just keep telling yourself that.”

“And also?  I do not lie to other people about who you are.  I do not try to make myself look good by lying about you.”

“Sure, you don’t.  You just go around telling everybody what a bad mom you are.”  She snorts, “Yeah, I hear you saying that all the time.  You should go around saying that, though.  Because you are pretty bad at this.”

“Ugh.  Really, Maj?  And now we come to the part of the conversation where you go up to your room by yourself for a while.  Again.”

She goes up to her room.  Where she promptly falls asleep.  Rage and rudeness are exhausting.

She only sleeps for a little while, but because of this nap?  She is all wide awake at bedtime.  She reads for a while.  Reads some more.  Reads some more.

And then it is midnight.  I go in to kiss her good-night before I go to bed.

Hers eyes are big and dark and sad in the shadows, “I am never going to be able to fall asleep.”

I tuck her blankets around her.  Fluff her pillow.  Kiss her forehead, “Yes, you will.  Just lie here and relax, and before you know it, you will be sleeping.”

“No, I won’t.  And now you and Daddy are going to sleep and I will be the only one awake in the house.  I will just be here in bed, all awake, waiting for the morning.”

Her eyes are all shiny with tears.


“Do you want to come in and sleep with us?”

I make this offer knowing that she will reject it.  Maj is not a snuggly girl.

I am very surprised when she says, “Yes,” and climbs out of bed.

In our bed?  She snuggles up against me, which she never ever does, and promptly falls asleep.  Really? I am wide awake and I lie there in the dark, smoothing her long hair with my fingertips.  I close my eyes and think of moms and daughters and love and forgiveness and grudges.  I am awake for a very long time, snuggled up against the me and yet not-me who is my older daughter.

This morning?  Maj is exhausted.

And I?  I am exhausted.

Motherhood is tiring.

I help organize breakfasts and lunches.  I smooth collars and a sadly crumpled math assignment.  I brush hair and offer advice on which shoes to wear.  I promise that I will volunteer for Friday’s field day event at school.  I sign papers and permission slips.  I sip coffee.  I watch as the girls head off to the bus stop.

Kallan turns to wave and blow me a kiss.  Maj does not.  She never does.

I love them both.

Plus also?  I do not suck at being a mother.

And my daughter Maj?  She is amazing.

    102 comments to Grudgy

    • Pua

      Aww you are an awesome mom and she totally knows it. I feel the love…

    • Its such a complex thing, the mother and daughter relationship. And I thank God everyday that I have a daughter to share it with.

      • I wouldn’t trade motherhood of these two girls for anything in the world.

        But it is more difficult than I imagined it would be . . . sometimes.

    • I am always amazed at how they can turn their misbehaving into your fault. After a while it gets kind of funny. There is much funny in my house right now.

    • You have two absolutely phenomenal daughters. As I tweeted, I cannot wait for them to start blogging.

    • CDG

      You are a wonderful mother, and the fact that she is so in your face? Just another ass-backwards way she shows her love. If she didn’t think you loved her unconditionally, if she didn’t love you so much, she wouldn’t dare.

      Mothers and daughters.

      I both want a daughter and fear having one. For now, though, my little boy is just fine.

      • I know Maj is the way she is partly because she knows she has the space and the love to be this way.

        Because she sooooo dares. Every fucking time, she dares.

        And while I know that she respects me, I guess I am glad that she does not seem to fear me.

    • Axel

      When my girls hit their hormonal ‘tween years or growing-up teen years, I’m so done. I’ll be suckin down the Tums and chuggin’ Pepto.

      I could amost see a different version to what you wrote where Maj says “And now you and Daddy are going to sleep and I will be the only one awake in the house. All awake while you sleep… you might not even hear me… You might not know I’m there, but I’ll be there. All awake… Muh-HA-HA-HA!!! ” I think I remember some sort of slasher movie like that? Maybe Chucky that demon doll? I can’t remember. Oh wells, hope you catch up on sleep tonight.


      • I have just returned from a nap, as lack of sleep often brings with it terrible headaches. So I had to leave for a while and close my eyes. And medicate.


        Thank you for the slasher movie reference, Axel. But that’s not something Maj would say.

        That’s something Kallan would say.

        And I hate horror movies. I can still remember the ads for Chucky . . . ugh . . . so scary.

    • LeAnne

      I love this post. You are an amazing mom with amazing children. I was like this with my mom, we butt heads something awful — but only because we were so much alike! Now, she is my best friend and biggest fan.

      The mother-daughter relationship is an incredible thing.

      And to read how Maj climed into bed with you and snuggled. A complete “awww” moment.

      • The snuggling? Was a huge surprise. Maj is my spikey porcupine girl, all angles and sharp edges.

        She very rarely curls into a softer yielding shape.

        I was happy to be there in this instance.

    • Axel

      I don’t like it when my posts go to moderation… It’s me. ME! It’s ME I tell ya!

      I just remember that I got the same sort of apology that centered around something like “I’m sorry you suck” but just not in those words. *Sigh*

      Kids… can’t beat ‘em like a rented mule or sell ‘em anymore. What can you do beside love them anyway?

      • Yup, that’s my thought.

        I just keep thinking that she is 11. ELEVEN.

        How on earth are we going to get through the next 7 years?


        • And also? Sorry about the moderation.

          If I had been awake, I would have approved immediately.

          Love you, without moderation.

    • Debby

      I agree your daughters are amazing, only because their mother is! As you know I have always looked to you for motherly advice as my daughters prefer you over me as their mother.

    • Jen

      I got all teary eyed reading this. Reading about Maj just reminds me of myself at her age. That plus that unconditional love….tears lady…just tears.

      • Sigh. I need more giggling.

        I will have to poke Mark with a sharp stick later to cause some hilarity.

        See? I am smiling already.

    • I think you’re both amazing.

      And Maj should write a guest post, I’d love to hear from her perspective!

      • OMG I soooooooo second that! All those in favor of a Maj doing a guest post, SAY AYE!!!

        • I do not need to give Maj more power than she already has.

          I have crafted a lovely image for myself here on Pretty All True.

          And lately? Maj is all about investigating my cracks.

          • This made me laugh like a little boy.

            In that a little boy would laugh at it, not in that my laugh resembles that of a little boy. Though I suppose I’ve never asked someone, and it’s possibly it does.

            Well, that’s disconcerting.

      • Maj’s guest post?

        Would be all filled with cursing.

        Pretty All True is not about the cursing.


    • I wish you were my mommy. Only, you know, that would be sort of weird.

      Excuse me, I have to go beat my child now.

      • Snort! Thank you for the giggle!

        People are getting all sappy up in here!

        • I was woken this morning ungodly early by Sophie doing her best drugged out Robert Downey, Jr. from the ’80s impression.

          I have no sap left today.

          I’m still full of love, though. Love tempered with poo.

          Mmm… poo love…

          • Kallan tells me that the word poo improves any sentence.

            She is often filled with poo love for me.

            And your daughter? I love her!

            • She would certainly love you in return, especially if you could free her from her nightmare world of having to eat the food she tells me to make her for lunch, and the horror of not being able to pee on the carpet. For this, I am certain, she would love you unto death.

              • Your daughter’s nightmare world is very much like the nightmare world to which I subject my daughters.

                Kallan has peed on the carpet in rather spectacular fashion, and I was not a happy mom.

                And I am a little bit afraid of being loved “unto death.”

                That sounds like the poo-love I already have here.

                So probably? We should leave Sophie with you. For everyone’s sake.

                Can you imagine if we got Kallan and Sophie together?

                The mind reels.

    • It is so hard to be a mother. And it is so hard to be a growing daughter. This post proves that you are a wonderful mother. Even though your daughter was pretty rotten to you, you still were present for her when it was a dark moment in her life. I hope I am aware enough to be there for my kids in their dark moments.

    • She’s at that age where she still wants and needs her mommy, but doesn’t want to admit it, even to herself. I remember it all to well, hey I’m not even sure I ever outgrew that (I’ll be 30 next year).

      I love that you actually explain things to her. The fact that she “fights back” means she cares. When I gave up caring I just yelled something about them not listening to me and then went upstairs.

      • Maj yells about how I am not listening! She yells it repeatedly and loudly so that I am unable to interrupt with my listening skills.

        She makes me laugh.

        Maj is amazing.