Late this past Sunday afternoon, Chris and I worked in the yard – wait, correction. I worked in the yard late this past Sunday afternoon. Chris worked in the yard all day on Sunday. Anyway, late this past Sunday afternoon Chris and I worked in the yard. And I really actually did work. And what motivated me to get dirty, covered in ants, and play with hedge trimmers? My mother’s guilt.
Ah…a mother’s guilt. Its a powerful thing. I imagine the letters that Napoleon must have received from his mother on the battlefield, “…I’m proud of you for conquering the world, Little Neo. I guess hoping you could take down Paris, too, was asking a little too much.” No one guilts us like our mothers. And no mother’s guilt like mine. Hers is quick, to the point, and always spot on. An unskilled guiltee would not even realize they had just been guilted. But I know. I always know.
So when I finished telling her a story about how I laid on the couch and napped while Chris dug holes in the yard a few weeks ago, all she had to say was, “I bet Chris will get tired of that after a while, Kate.” ZING!
Cue the guilt.
Exit the mother.
I might be able to go on in my life ignoring these zings if she wasn’t so right about them. So, I spent a few days festering to my BFF about how unfair my mom was with that one liner accusation, and then on Sunday I decided maybe I should actually help Chris out. So I dressed in my cutest army cargo shorts and sexy black tank top, put my hair in a curly ponytail, wrapped my delicate hands in my new bright purple gardening gloves and declared to Chris that I was here to help.
He was skeptical at first, but I really pulled my weight. I pulled weeds, shoveled dirt AND cedar chips, and moved some rocks around. When I asked for something else to do, Chris handed me a pair of hedge trimmers and told me to go to town on this bush that was huge and ugly. I just wanted to rip it out of the ground, but Chris said it just needed to be shaped. And that was all the direction he gave me – “shape it up.” What the hell does that mean?!?
So, I start hacking away at this bush. Only, I apparently only hacked away at one side of this bush because after a few minutes when I stood back to look, one side of it was still really bushy and ugly and one side had a single branch left that just hung out there all by itself. Kind of droopy like.
“Hmm…” I thought. “That doesn’t look right.”
So, I start hacking away at the OTHER SIDE of this bush. By the time I was done, there were two small sprouts of life left in the bush and they stuck out on either side of the stem, like Yoda’s ears. I stood there with the clippers on my hip, pondering what to do about this bush that I had pruned into a stick when Chris walked up beside me.
“Oh man,” he said. “What did you do?”
“I don’t know. I shaped it, I guess.”
And that’s when Chris took the clippers away from me and demoted me to hole digger. How sad.
This morning I noticed as I walked to my car that the bush had completely died yesterday. It had accepted defeat, and just curled up and died. Well, good. Its survival of the fittest in my backyard, baby. Besides, I never liked that bush anyway.