My mom was pretty lenient about things when I was growing up, but every once in a while, she would put a halt to my social butterfly life. And she always came up with the same lame rebuttal.
“But, Mom, all the girls in the neighborhood are going to be at her pajama party!”
“I know, Vickie, but if all your friends jumped off of a bridge, would you?”
I would just stare at her…………….and then start again.
“Why can’t I go??? I really want to go, Mom? What can’t I?”
“Because I said so.”
Those are two responses I heard all of the time, and usually mentioned together. When I wanted my ears pierced, I mentioned that everyone was getting them done.
“Vickie, if those girls jumped off a bridge, would you?”
“But why can’t I get my ears pierced?’
“Because I said so.”
It was frustrating. She would sit on “her” corner of the couch, inhaling her Salem cigarette, before spouting out the inevitable. When she wasn’t smoking, she was either eating those chalky pink candies, or holding a magnifying mirror in one hand and tweezing something on her face with the other hand. And she would just matter-of -fact tell me how it was.
“If _______ (insert a variety of names) jumped off a bridge, would you, Vickie?
Dammit. How in the hell did that make any sense what so ever? And it didn’t make sense to my friends. My phone calls were always the same.
“I’m not allowed………I don’t know……..She said I can’t go…………….Yes, I did try crying………………Because…she said so.”
And such was my life. I didn’t go to Janice’s pajama party because my mom said so. I didn’t go roller skating on several occasions because she said so. Friends were jumping off of bridges and cliffs left and right. This went on for years. And I was getting tired of it.
So, I was determined to get her to stop. During my 13th birthday.
My birthday parties were a small affair. I would just invite 5 or six of my friends in the neighborhood to my house and we would have cake and ice cream and just sit around and laugh a lot.
“Vickie, why are you sitting there like you lost your best friend? What’s wrong with you this time?”
“No one can come over for my birthday. Ramaine is the only one coming.”
“I don’t know…….They didn’t give a reason.”
“Well, that makes no sense, Vickie………….Quit crying. There has to be a reason why they aren’t coming.”
I pouted but stayed close to my mom because I knew how she operated. She would sit and smoke and sit and think and then get up to go to the phone in the kitchen. I knew that she would start calling the moms. It was bugging her.
“Mom, please don’t call them.”
“Vickie, it just doesn’t make sense that all 5 of them can’t come over for cake and ice cream. Are you sure they aren’t sick or something.”
“Nooooo, they just something about jumping off a bridge and because their mom’s said so.”
“Well, what kind of an answer is that? That is not an answer.”
I knew that my mom would not even associate those words with her own, even though she spoke the same phrases a multitude of times.
Well, slowly but surely that evening I had each of my friends call and tell me that they could now make my party. I perked up and my mom made my round little cake with the white icing and we had a grand time. And then it was time.
Two days later, I asked my mom if I could go to Kathy’s pajama party. (We had a lot of them in the neighborhood.) I didn’t think she would let me go, so I made up the whole birthday scenario so I could get to this point.
“Mom, everyone is invited to Kathy’s pajama party. Everyone is going. Can I go.”
My mom paused. And paused some more. I knew damn well, she wanted to ask me if I would jump off of a bridge if my friends did. I know damn well she wanted to tell me I couldn’t go because she said so.
“Sure. You can go.”
And this was the day that I learned about reverse psychology, manipulation, and more importantly, how to make yourself cry real tears. I did good.
Years later, I vowed that I would not use the bridge scenario on my children. I had my own rebuttal.
“No. End of discussion.”
I guess things change with the times, but not really.