I responded to many terms of endearment lavishly dished out by my mother, whose vocabulary was otherwise generally limited to an array of profanities. I was called all the usual terms including “Sweetheart,” “Baby,” “Babe,” “My Dear,” “Honey”, and “Angel.” But I was best known in the family as my mom’s “little baby Jesus.” This title, so I thought, was bestowed upon me because, as annoyingly observed by my siblings, I was the perfect child who could never do any wrong. “Good” was defined using me as the objective standard. But this didn’t last very long as my actions were becoming increasingly difficult to justify as good, especially as I entered my “difficult” years: ages 2–26.
A little later in life I realized that being my mom’s “little baby Jesus” wasn’t because of my perfection, but really because the baby Jesus and I were both a result of unplanned pregnancies, and the term “little baby Jesus” sounded much better than “Mommy’s little mistake.”
Do you know what else was a mistake? The Post-It note. This was 3M’s little mistake when a scientist working for the company accidentally created a “low-tack,” reusable, pressure-sensitive adhesive when attempting to develop a super-strong adhesive. I feel a connection with the Post-It note—we are two little mistakes that, although not curing cancer, are making the world better in our own little way. Besides, do you know who was a planned pregnancy? Adolf Hitler.
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What is a “normal childhood?” Does it include almost being murdered by your sister with an ax? Speeding around town in the back of a station wagon because your mom is chasing an “alien spaceship”? Being busted by the police for intent to light a pond on fire? Tackling your mom to the ground and wrestling a knife out of her hand because she was trying to kill your dad? While my stories may be unique, readers will be able to relate to the broader themes are part of a normal childhood such as sibling rivalry, eccentric parents, doing stupid things, and frequently preventing one’s parents from literally murdering each other.
Although some of the subject matter is not something one would generally laugh at, you have my permission to laugh. Social rules don’t apply here; my rules do. It works for me, and who knows, after reading the stories from my past, you might be inspired to see your own screwed up past in a more humorous light.
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