This weekend was Mother's Day. The day Hallmark gave us to remember our mothers -- because without them, where would we be? Mom: No one can inspire such soaring love or such sheer terror.

Now that I'm a father, I can understand a lot of what my own parents went through -- and more than that, what they were willing to go through. The tears they shed, the wrinkles they wear in their hands today from when they wringed them from worry over me -- over us 6 kids.

I must have been around 3 or 4 -- long enough ago that the memory is vividly hazy -- when I chased after my sisters as they walked to school. They'd already been gone a little while, but I'd seen them walking down the street and I was confident I could find them. So, there I went. I walked about 6 blocks when (on the right course! See, I told you I knew I could track them!) the crossing gaurd, Tina, caught me trying to cross a major street barefoot and in my underwear. She had me wait there with her until her shift ended and then she carried me home. She was our neighbor and knew our family. I remember begging her not to tell my mother about what I'd done. I went inside and promptly hid in the king of all hiding places: under my bed. Next thing I knew, I was dodging a broom swooshing under the bed. I knew the jig was up and I crawled out to face the music; and I cursed Tina for ratting me out.

On another occasion, I can't remember why, exactly, but surely I'd done something to aggravate my mother. I just don't know why I did what I did. I ask you: What would you have done? See, she was holding a lit match to my lips, threating to burn my tongue if what I was claiming (innocence, I'm sure) was a lie. Somehow I lost my sanity, all my 6 year old powers of logic and clear thought escaped me, and for reasons that I'm not clear on to this day, I pursed my lips and blew the damned thing out.

The last thing I remember was how neat the little wisp of smoke slowly, but interstingly, meandered upward from the burned phosphorus tip -- then darkness.

To me, life was idyllic and full of adventure. I didn't have a computer or video games or anything electronic (well, maybe a radio). I had a freaking ball, dude. Red. Rubber. Hours and hours of entertainment. Oh, yeah, and a box. I had a red rubber ball and a card-board box. So, I'd go outside and play, alone, while all my brothers and sisters were at school (a relief because all they'd do is torment me anyway!). I was confined to my back yard; and while to a 5 year old kid, it was a large yard, it was too small for me. My mother would force me to siesta with her -- I hated it because we were buring good daylight! So, I'd wait until she fell asleep, and then I'd sneak out the back door, grab the plastic baseball bat, use it to undo the latch on the gate -- and later days! Well, my neighbor across the street, La Seniora Lopez, busted me and ratted me out. So, mama put a pad lock on the gate. The next siesta, I snuck out, and this time, climbed over the fence. I mean, it made sense. The wire fence was like a ladder, up and over the little metal dogs at the top, and I was a free man! This time, Tina (now my sworn mortal enemy) caught me and sent me back to the slammer. I was a prisoner in my own home. I was serving a life sentence. I was tied to a chair and placed in front of "As The World Turns". Again, I waited for her sleep, I openned the back door, jumped the fence with the metal dogs . . . freaking mailman! What's a brother got to do around here for a little freedom?!

The last time, I had it all worked out. I was going to wait until I was sure she was sawing logs, see? Then I was going over the fence, see? Yeah. This time, the back fence. It was unknown territory, but the other fences had gaurds -- the rat bastards. So, there I was, tied up to the chair again, when I heard her breathing deeply in the next room. I quietly wriggled out of the rope across my chest, got my hands loose and undid the knots at my ankles, figured out the new lock on sliding back door, crawled along the ground on my stomach towards the back fence, looked around, climbed the fence, threw my legs over and landed and looked up to see Mr. Hester with his hands on his hips and a crescent wrench in his pocket. That was it, I knew it was over. I knew the warden was going to let me have it. I was going to get the chair for sure.

When my sisters and brothers came home, they pointed and laughed at first, then they started to feel bad for me because I had to wait for my father to come home; I was tied to the chair with 3 ropes, which was then tied to the meat locker, all of which had me sitting in front of "As The World Turns."

I can't seem to recall the rest. But, I'm sure it was well before then that my mother placed the curse of all mothers upon me -- "I hope one day you have children, and I hope they're just like you!"

Know what? The curse works . . . .

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