Den of the Beastly Bear
It's funny how our parents seem to forget...let me explain.
Milk, never been a fan...
Even as a child, never drank the stuff.
Ate it on cereal, in oatmeal, in cream sauces...
But to drink a glass of it? No.
Of course chocolate milk was different.
Personally I prefer chocolate malt, but I was the only one. I have twin sisters, younger than me and they drank their milk plain.
Dad preferred Ovaltine™,
which I thought tasted like chocolate medicine.
Money was tight, times were hard...yada yada yada
anyway it wasn't in the budget to get chocolate milk just for me.
The problem was, my mother was determined I would drink my milk, like it or not.
Come dinner time, she would ask me what I wanted to drink...we rarely had pop so I'd say "ice water".
"Well, I already poured you milk."
Well what'd ya ask me for then???
"But Moooooooom, I don't like milk!"
"Just drink it, it's good for you!" I don't know how many things I had to eat because they were "good for me".
I was however, a stuburn child...
Steadfastly refusing to drink my milk...
All through dinner, when plates were cleared, when dishes done, and there I sat staring at that horrible white death in a glass. You see I was not allowed to leave the table until I finished my meal, which included that glass of milk.
My parents and sisters retired to the family room to watch tv, and still there I sat.
Mom sat so she could see me from the other room, so there was no chance to dump it out.
Finally the psychological torture was too much...and I chugged that warm, nasty glass of milk...dry heaving when done. Now satisfied I would not die of brittle bone disease, nor would my teeth all fall out, I was allowed to join the family.
Years later, married with a kid of my own we would often invite my mother and her boyfriend(my parents had divorced when I was nine) out to dinner on Friday nights.
One such night when Princess Bear was about 4, we were out at a favorite dining establishment and we let Princess choose what she wanted for dinner, which we always did. She picked spaghetti and meatballs, which she got there often. When everyone's food came, Princess ate a couple bites and said she changed her mind she wanted chicken strips. I asked if there was something wrong with her spaghetti?
"No...I just want chicken strips."
"Well baby, you ordered spaghetti and that's what you're gonna eat...if you wanted chicken that's what you should have ordered."
At this point my mother started clucking like an angry old hen.
"I NEVER made you kids eat anything you didn't like!" She said.
"Excuse me???" I said
"#1 she WANTED spaghetti, AND she likes it! #2 you seriously don't remember making me eat Brussels sprouts that made me gag? 'They're good for you'. Or butternut squash? Cause it was 'good for me" too! Or making me sit at the table for an hour after dinner because I wouldn't drink the glass of milk you gave me KNOWING how much I hated it??? Please."
"I don't know where you kids come up with this stuff, I never did any of that! Why would you make up things like that, just to make me sound like a bad mother?"
"Mom, nobody's saying you were a bad mother!!! But don't sit there and tell me you never made us eat anything we didn't like."
Needless to say that put a damper on the rest of the evening...
On our way home, after dropping them off, I said to my wife.
"I know that happened, with the milk...repeatedly!"
"I know honey, you've told me about it before... I believe you."
A few months later, we were over at my father and step mother's house, having a nice cookout.
We were chatting about this and that when the thought hit me.
"Hey Dad, you remember mom ever making us kids eat things we didn't like?"
"Oh Jesus, THE MILK!!!" He said.
"She'd make you sit there until you drank it! I told her by then it was warm and nasty and she said she'd already poured it and we weren't wasting it. Besides, it was 'good for you'!"
Could it be she truly doesn't remember that? Sure, it's possible. It's my personal opinion it's "selective" memory at work! We all want to think of ourselves in the most positive light, which makes it easy to gloss over particulars. And as parents, none of us are perfect...we've probably all done something we're not proud of...in retrospect.
I hope when Princess has kids of her own, and she brings up something I did to her as a child, I won't have selective memory...
I'll simply say "I was doing my best, and what I thought was right at the time."
Oh, and "Sorry!"
Be well folks!