The Time My Mother Called Me Fat, And 4 Other Stories Celebrating Her Savagery
This past Friday was like any other typical Friday. I was sitting in my home office, moving the mouse on my work computer to keep my Skype activity green, and staring out of the window, daydreaming like an employed jailbird. Eventually, a small amount of motivation kicked in. I decided to take action and look ahead to next week to preplan excuses as to why I would be missing 75% of the call-in meetings. Scrolling through my work calendar, I realized that Sunday was Mother’s Day. For the 26th year in a row, I had fucking forgot. My mind filled with anxiety; Not because I didn’t buy a gift again, but rather, I knew that God had one last cruel trick up his sleeve. Mother’s Day only meant one thing: A flood of white people drive-by’s were about to fill my Instagram feed. You know: The video’s of people driving by mom’s house, waving and honking with the caption, “Can’t hug mom but it won’t stop me from celebrating Mother’s Day!” I mean, don’t get me wrong; a few of those early ones really pulled on my heartstrings. It was adorable when that grandpa sat outside the window of the nursing home to speak to his wife with Alzheimer’s, but like everything good on social media, people decided to take it too far.. “But Mr Bigleys, I’m spreading positivity!” I get it, but there’s just something disingenuous about sneaking that Mercedes logo in the video while honking the horn at mom and immediately following it up with one of your thotty quotes:
With the drive-by idea already worn out and my cheapskate ways keeping me from spending any money, I knew I had to come up with a new, creative way to celebrate my mother. What better way, I thought, than write an article entirely dedicated to the lady that birthed me. So, here it is, some of my fondest memories with my beloved mother:
1…The Time She Asked “You Know What Happened, Right?”
As the youngest of three, it was commonplace for my siblings to tease me about being adopted. It never bothered me, and honestly, I never even gave it a second thought. That all changed when I was about 21 or 22 years old. We were sitting around the kitchen table, reminiscing on my childhood when my mother asked me, "You know what happened, right?" Now, this isn't exactly something you want to hear from your mother when speaking about your childhood. It's comparable to receiving the "Can we talk" text from the girl you just had a one night stand with. My mind began to race. Were my siblings telling me the truth this entire time? Was I adopted? Although this wasn't the case, what my mother told me wasn't exactly the next best thing. She broke the news that my dad had a vasectomy before she became pregnant with me. My mother then followed this up by saying, "I remember finding out I was pregnant and immediately bursting into tears." So although I respect you for raising me, no mother's gift for you. This family has never handed out participation trophies. My mom was basically that kid on the recreation soccer team who sat Indian style on defense and picked grass because she didn't want to be there. Just like that kid's dad, who forced his son to play sports while simultaneously killing his dreams of becoming an artist, God gave you me and proceeded to destroy any dreams and aspirations you had. I have to imagine the only thing that kept you going was the feeling that I had a chance to be something special. Boy, was that feeling off...
2…”If I’m going to pay to watch you suck at something, I’d rather spend that money on a Math tutor.”
Growing up - and really to this day - I’ve always been obsessed with basketball. As much as I like to joke around about my time playing, I was actually pretty decent. I ended up becoming the captain of my varsity team. I’ve even received the most satisfying compliment that any white basketball player can earn from a black guy: The classic, “Damn, that white boy kinda nice.” I still get chills just thinking about it... Anyhow, my mother was always my harshest critic. It wasn’t uncommon for her to get in the car and leave halfway through a game if my team was playing like shit. It used to piss me off, but looking back, it’s absolutely hilarious. Imagine a small white lady at a basketball gym in the middle of Detroit choosing to drive down 6 Mile by herself in her white VW Passat station wagon instead of watching her son lose a game of basketball. I have one particular memory of her disgust when I was in 7th grade. We were walking out to the car after I had just played a terrible game. Instead of comforting me, my mother gave it to me straight. She said these exact words: ”If I’m going to pay to watch you suck at something, I’d rather spend that money on a Math tutor.” I was completely dumbfounded. It was the roast of the century. What do I even say back to that? I gotta say though, I fucking respect it….
3…That Time She Made Me Get Tested For Cancer
When I was in the 4th or 5th grade, I went over to my friend's house to play on his brand new trampoline. We were instantly obsessed with the thing. But two falls later, and a ten-year-old Bigleys had the back of a 65-year-old man. After attempting a front flip, I flipped off the trampoline straight onto my face not once, but twice.
Fast forward 5 or 6 months, and I'm on vacation in Florida with my family. One of those episodes of ESPN's My Wish comes on as we're relaxing in the hotel room. If you don't recall what this is, it's when ESPN had a segment where they would take a kid fighting a terminal disease and give him the chance to meet their favorite athlete. Lucky little bastards...
Although we may share genetics, it was made clear that we didn't share the same sense of humor. The week we got back, I was taken to the hospital to have a blood test performed to check for any signs of cancer. The tests came back negative. Ends up, falling off a trampoline twice isn't great for your back.
4…When She Called Me Fat
My own mother fat-shamed me in 4th grade. I got out of the pool, and she told me I was getting chubby. That's the extent of that story. I'm skinny now, so I can't really argue with the results.
5…Her Ability To Shape Any Narrative Around Jesus
My mother has an uncanny ability to shape the narrative of any topic around the Lord Our Savior, Jesus Christ. Up until 10th grade, when I started to have basketball practice on Sundays, my mother used to drag the entire family to Church.
To her disappointment, all three kids are no longer churchgoers. It’s not her fault. It’s just…it’s just that I’ve already seen the entire series 16 times. I’d be back in if the Pope dropped a new season or maybe even some alternative endings. I say hire a few Hollywood writers and allow them to take some liberties with this completely true story.
Like, imagine this: The last supper is going on, the boys are feeling loose, and Mary Magdalene invites some of her bitties over to spice up the party. Things are going great; Jesus is doing his usual party tricks turning water into wine and shit. The party is lit.
Later in the night, Jesus walks up and hugs Judas. The camera closes in on the conversation, and you can hear Jesus saying, “I have a horse carriage coming in an hour to take us to the garden of Gethsemane. Don’t make a big deal about it.”
The noise in the back fades as the moment becomes tenser. Jesus than grabs Judas’ face, kisses him, and says, “I know it was you, Judas. You broke my heart…You broke my heart!”
You'd go back to church too, am I right? Anyhow, what the fuck was I even talking about? AH, yes, narrative manipulation. About two years ago, my mother received some lovely jewelry from my father as an anniversary gift. Almost immediately, she lost it, and it wasn't until a month ago when she finally found the jewelry. Rather than admit she fucked up and misplaced it, she told me that she had been praying to Saint Anthony, the saint of lost things. While she was sleeping, he must have snuck into her room and placed the necklaces under her pillow. Let that sink in. Catholicism put a saint in charge of their divine lost and found. My mother then took the time to send in a claim to the holy office and waited two years to hear back from them. Little did she know I was doing some work on the side. First, I had to contact Saint Eligius, the patron saint of jewelry. His office told me to go to Saint Lawrence's, the patron saint of archives, to dig up my mom's initial request. While they were looking, I prayed over to the patron saint's office of anxiety, Saint Dymphna, to keep my mother calm during the process. As soon as I was walking out of the office, a sudden rumble shook my belly. I was absolutely sure I was about to shit pants. I quickly scurried across the street to Saint Bonaventure's, the patron saint of bowel disorders. Thank God their bathroom was open, and honestly, incredibly clean. I then headed back to Saint Lawrence's office, who told me they had located my mother's initial request. Apparently, there was some sort of mix up where it got sent over to the office of Joseph of Cupertino, the patron saint of astronauts. It's funny how even saints make mistakes. Eventually, I was directed to the office of Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of Catholic action, to have those files transferred back to Saint Anthony's. Only two business days later, my mother had found the jewelry. And that is my mother's gift. Happy Mothers Day, Mom. Can’t say I never did anything for you.