Today feels like one of those days when memories of childhood just flood you for no apparent reason, and you keep smiling at yourself… So, I decided to jot down some of those funny moments, so that I can get back to my normal routines.
The funniest story that keeps playing in my mind all day today is one of the many that my mother told me. When I was three years old I went to my mom crying. She asked what the problem was. I told her I wanted my penis. She was scandalized for a minute but considering that I was only three she continued lecturing me not to use that word. But I wanted my own penis, so I yelled around the house even more, “I want my penis, I want my penis.” My mom’s aunt, who had come to visit us at that time, heard what was going on and told my mom that my mom must be pregnant and it will be a boy. To make me shut up aunty bought a toy track and told me, “Here take it, this is your penis,” and then finally I stopped crying…hahhaha.
Another funny story….or maybe not….I played outside like every other little boy and girl in Albania but you know, there was so much mud in Albania everywhere at that time. So, every evening I went home covered in mud head to toe. My mom got fed up and one day came outside scolding me in front of all my friends, why couldn’t I be more like the other girls, cute and clean? I told her that’s because they were princesses but I was the queen-knight. My mom was surprised with my answer and told me that one can either be a princess or be a knight and play with boys. I didn’t like her perception, so was thinking maybe I am missing something in the way I looked. So, I went home and cut off my mom’s best nightgown, with all those little frills and pure silk that was a rare gift from some family member to her, and then I put it on my head as a headdress. I went outside to play and invited little boys too along with girls to be in my army… I was so proud of myself and at the end of the day I wanted to ask my mom with all my sincerity, “Now do I look like a Queen to you?” But before I even said anything.…Boy, My mom was so furious….
When Andi (pronounced like Andy) my brother died, I was four and a half, and we moved to another city where I spent the rest of my life, Fieri. I never stopped asking my mom for a brother. I even gave her ultimatums, “OK mom now we are in March now, and by June I want a brother,” or “Now is November, by New Year’s I want a brother.” I was only six at that time when my mom’s friends thought they would fool me and play a joke on me. Knowing how much I was in pain for losing my little brother, what they did that was not smart, but some people do not think much. Anyhow, as cruel as it may seem, it is also a funny story to tell. One day these ladies got a pillow and dressed it up with Andi’s clothes which mom had saved in a corner of the cupboard. I knew these were Andi’s clothes because when I was alone, without my mom seeing me (I knew she would start crying otherwise), I went and looked at my brother’s clothes one by one, just to keep that feeling going of what I felt when he was still with us. So these smart ass ladies covered the pillow-baby’s face and told me, “here is you new brother. Mom just brought him home from the hospital.” They were apparently waiting to see my shocking reaction when I would uncover the face and discover that baby was just a pillow. Instead I took the pillow-baby in my arms and started cuddling it without uncovering its face. First they laughed and then they were puzzled, they grew impatient and asked me why I wasn’t curious to see my brother’s face. I told them that I didn’t want to wake him up. Then one of them pretended to make the voice of a baby crying, and then told me that now that baby is awake I could uncover the baby’s face. But I kept cuddling the baby and singing to the pillow to calm it down as if it was a real baby. They got so pissed off that they wanted to uncover the baby’s face themselves but I kept pushing them away, and running around the room, telling them to leave my baby brother alone, because I can take care of him. This went on for about one hour, until one of the ladies at this point just lost it, and she grabbed the pillow from my hands and finally uncovered the face. I started crying complaining that she ruined my game….that I already knew it was a pillow. That was the funniest moment my mom tells me, when instead of me being shocked, I shocked them, by fooling them into believing that I hadn’t figure out their joke….
My first boyfriend used to tell me that I was either the most naive creature on earth or the sneakiest one pretending to be dumb sometimes, just to catch others in mistake. Well, yes, I act dumb sometimes, either because I really don’t know anything or because I like to be silly; it is fun, especially when playing with my kids… but not because I make plans in my head to catch others red handed… Pretending was never my thing, and you know why? Because I don’t give a damn what people do or think around me, for as long as they do not prevent me to take care of my own business and my priorities. I look so distracted because in fact I am distracted, and because of this, some people think they can fool me. However, I only need one minute to figure out what the others were planning all along, and so I catch these errors or gaps in the story they tell and then I start questioning their integrity. However, all those who know me well, and have been close to me to see my true nature, they all know that I forgive very easily. As soon as someone opens up and starts telling the truth about what motivated them to lie in the first place, I am done questioning; they have all my love and understanding after that moment. My children learned this of course from me, that telling the truth is better. Some people however, they think they can take take advantage of this “weakness” of mine that I forgive each time the truth is told. They wrongly assume that any excuse will be enough to fool me and get my forgiveness. But not so…I may forgive easily, but I do not forget, and I don’t get fooled by lame excuses. And if I continue to be polite, that doesn’t mean I believe the liar. It only means that person is no longer important for me and it is just a figurine without character who is not worthy wasting my energy with.
My mathematical logic at grade one: I had 3 lek (lek is the Albanian money), and ice cream cost 5 lek. I told the lady at the cash, “One ice cream please.” She told me, “You can’t have ice cream, you don’t have enough money.” I told her, “I know, but I learned in school today that 3 + 2 =5. So since you always give people money when they buy things but they do not have the exact change, then here you go: I give you 3 lek, then you give me back 2 lek, and there you have 5 lek for the ice scream.” The cashier couldn’t be convinced and I wondered why? One lady at the store kept laughing and then she gave 2 lek to the cashier so I could get my ice cream.
I can’t stop with these memories today, can I? Well, I think this is the last one. I remember that I was in grade two when I learned that my logic was wrong; cashiers do not give money back when you have less than the exact change… So, my mom thought I was old enough now to go to the store and buy quick items that she told me to. She gave me the money and told me to buy two or three items. I took the money and somehow before getting outside I divided them into groups, one on each hand. Then I would go back to my mom asking her, “Mom, can you tell me again what was I supposed to buy with this hand and what was I supposed to buy with this other hand?” It drove my mom crazy, because she didn’t even know how much I had on each hand, and why would I divide the money in two groups. Now it is payback time, because my youngest daughter asks me three times for everything that I tell her to do. She keeps asking , “Mom can you repeat that again, what did you say?” Funny that people do not notice the ADD behavior in cases like this. I do now, but I rather have a kid that asks me three times than a kid that never asks me for anything. In fact, I was worried my youngest one would be the kid that never asks the authority, that’s because when I was pregnant with her, my then husband told me, “I must warn you that this kid will not be like the other two you have that ask you before they do anything. This kid will have my genes therefore, she will assume whatever she does it is right, until you catch her and clearly indicate that what she was doing was wrong.” I laughed at this statement, because somehow I was confident that my daughter will not be like that. So I told him, “First of all, she will have my genes too and I am pretty sure mine are really strong. Second, asking or not asking is a behavior problem learned by the family, it is not in the genes.” Turned out my youngest one, asks me all the time, and she even asks me three times to make sure that she heard my answers correctly. She asks not because she fears she will get caught doing something wrong. She asks, being fully conscious, that it is better to ask ahead of time in order to avoid mistakes, than it is to fix mistakes after they are done. But this is not due to my genes, it is due to the fact that I am making my children a priority and teaching them the most important lesson in life, that it doesn’t cost anything to put the pride aside, and be humble before the errors are done, Being arrogant and always thinking “I am all that” it will cost a lot more and sometimes this attitude may bring things to the point that mistakes are irreparable. But, this lesson is learned from the parent that reflects this attitude, and especially when the parent is humble enough to accept his/her mistakes, without adding 1000 excuses after to make themselves look good and superior again. I openly accept to my children that I may not know all and everything, but I am trying my best, to the best of my knowledge and good intentions. Giving unconditional love and encouragement, forgiving and supporting my children when they make mistakes, and finally teaching them to accept mistakes, that is how I established my full authority on my children and get them to listen to me all the time. This is why I still have Halloween candies laying around my apartment from two years ago because my children do not take anything (junkfood wise)without permission even when everything is out in the open. And they know that if I said no, it really means no. I don’t need to lock the candies away, and I don’t need to go around the house and act like police. I am my own children’s best friend and their mentor. Above all they don’t want to lose my love and my trust, because it feels good to be loved and to be trusted; that’s what drives human spirit. And this is how you gain full authority, with love not fear.