Essay: Blame Me

May 11, 2018

“Maybe I wasn’t the greatest mom,” I say, “but I must have done a few things right.”

“None,” my daughter says, grinning. We are sitting at the kitchen table, drinking coffee and catching up. Sara is married now and working two jobs, so we grab whatever time we can to be together.

“Maybe there was one thing,” she says, and I wonder what it could be. Hoping she might say how much she appreciates the way I read her books or helped with homework.

“You said I could blame you,” she says. “Remember?”

“Remind me.’

“You told me that if I didn’t want to do something, like stay out late or go somewhere with a bunch of friends, I could always say, ‘My Mom won’t let me.’ That really came in handy.”

I know what she means. My parents always set an early curfew, and I was often grateful for the excuse to get home. Then when I was a senior in college, we could get keys to the residence hall and suddenly there was no curfew. Sometimes I said I didn’t have a key. I had discovered that freedom is more free with limits.

“Well, I’m glad I did something right,” I tell Sara. “Feel free to blame me anytime.”

“I do,” she says.