Monday, October 4, 2021


 I was loading a child's school desk to take to a professional to be refinished when I heard it, a low anguished, "Moooooommmm..." 

As any mother can attest, it doesn't matter how old your children are, when someone calls "Mom!" you automatically look. I looked. 

It turned out that a girl was standing near the bushes at the end of our driveway talking on her cell, evidently to her mother. 

"Are you okay?" I asked. 

"Yes," she answered. 

"I just heard the 'mom!' and wanted to make sure. It's the mom in me, I suppose.' I continued loading the desk and the little wooden chair.

"I was just walking to work and talking to my mom. She's not very helpful sometimes."

Curiously, I said, "Where do you work?" She told me. It was a couple miles down the road. 

"That's a bit of a hike," I said. I told her that after I dropped off the desk and chair at the refinishers, I needed to get a few groceries for the week. "I can give you a ride up there if you don't mind the detour," I said. 

She didn't have to be to work until 5:30. It was not yet 4. She agreed. So I got everything in the back seat and we headed off. 

She was a talker. She was a mother herself, getting pregnant when she was 17. The baby lived with her ex and his new girlfriend, and the new girlfriend was teaching him to call her 'mama' and that bothered her something awful. 

I remembered my ex-son-in-law doing that with William and his new flame. It was terribly hurtful and it was meant to be hurtful. I offered up the same advice I had given to my own daughter: This won't last. Be bigger than the hurt. Don't fall into the trap of arguing about it and showing him your hurt, because that's where his power comes from. You just focus on being the best mom you can be and let the crap fall to the side."

She said, "It's hard." 

I said, "Sure. This is a hard time. But hard times pass."

She was quiet, and then changed the subject. She thanked me for the ride. "I don't have a driver's license," she said. "My mom never taught me." 

I said, "That's the wonderful thing about being an adult. You have the power to change that."

She was quiet again. She didn't seem to know what to say. She expected sympathy, someone to say that her boyfriend was a shit, and that her mother had really been derelict in her role. 

She talked about her son, who is two. He will turn 3 just as she turns 21. We got to our destination and walked through the parking lot together. She was very early for work but at least she wasn't walking in the rain. 

When I headed out, later, I heard her on the phone with her mother. "I'm doing the best I can!" she snapped. 

That girl's got a rough row to hoe. By extension, so does her mother. I wish them well.


  1. A little slice of someone's life can be interesting. I hope she benefits from your wise thoughts.

  2. You gave her a listening ear, a helping hand and some things to consider. Generous gifts.

    I feel for her. My mother was a bully all her life to all sorts of family members.
    I have tried my best not to be like her.

  3. I hope you helped her to think about her options! Good advice all around.

  4. She sounds quite irresponsible - forever seeking explanations outside herself.

  5. Fascinating anecdote. You are good at these.

  6. It's hard being an adult. You start to understand that life is hard, that there are consequences for your actions and that you need to stop blaming others. I hope she gets there.

  7. Although I wouldn't wish problems like those on others, when I do encounter them, they are a good reminder of how trivial my problems are.

  8. I hope she really heard you, or maybe your words will resonate with her later. We never know what each day will introduce in our life.

  9. I think any resonation will happen later, if at all. She's a hard worker and walks to both her jobs, but she's got a lot of mountains to climb. She has dealt herself a pretty tough hand.

    Her mom may be a not nice person. Her mom may be at her wits' end. Her mom may be resorting to tough love. Hard to tell from one conversation.

  10. People seem to always share their stories with you.

  11. My grand daughter went to college one year and decided she needed a car. She could not have a car at college so her parents said when she could have a car they would help her. She wanred one sooner so did not go back for her second year, she got a job, got a car and paid her insurance for one year. She is going back to school in the spring with her car. With savings and a well paying job she was able to get a nice car. I offered to help her and she told me to save the money for in case she had an un expected expense and needed the money. Her college and all expenses are paid for. Growing up she worked on the family farm for her spending money, worked cattle, dog sit and what eever other job came along. I have a very well rounded grand daughter thanks to lessons in money management and lots of love. I always get carried away in these posts, sorry.

  12. She could not have a car her first year, second she could. She is studying agriculture and cattle management.

  13. Bob, that girl was an 'over sharer'. Additionally, it would have been an awkward 20 minutes in the car if we didn't say anything. Mind you, I didn't have to. I barely got a word in edgewise.

  14. This was a really great post. You were very, very kind, Debby. You also gave her absolutely the best sort of advice a mother could give. I just hope some of it will stick.


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