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Are You a Tragic Martyr Mother?

by Beverly S. Krueger

Iíve been thinking about starting a new association devoted to the tragic martyr mothers who devoted their lives to their children and faced the worst of childish atrocities involving art supplies, kitty litter, and stuff that seemed safe. I feel perfectly suited to be a founding mother of the TMM. I have the gray hair to prove it, and Iím sure that experts in architectural restoration could reveal the evidence needed to convict my children of serial destruction.

I have one son who while he was three managed to use purple or red crayons to cover the walls with artwork as high as he could reach. He was tall for his age, so his reach always exceeded his grasp of artistic concepts. Back then, I held out hope that these pictographs would one day be worth substantial sums as the foundational work of a great artist. His older sister was and still is very artistic, so my hope wasnít completely baseless. Eleven years later, the hope no longer burns bright. Which is just as well, we moved out of that house, but not before repainting the walls just 21 months after moving in.

During the years this son was honing his technique as a graffiti artist, he was also a budding scientist. His work was primarily in physics and chemistry although if allowed out of doors he would happily delve into biology. His lab assistant was a certain 18-month-old female who lived across the hall. He could always count on her to assist in his endeavors. Perhaps their greatest triumph was the kitty litter experiments. Using the toilet as their laboratory test tube, they discovered that mixing kitty litter and water produced clay and made daddy look like he might explode. On the heels of this first successful experiment, they moved on to seeing whether different containers had any effect on kitty litter. Since Mom had conveniently placed the source of all kitty litter near not only a toilet but also the washing machine and dryer, their choice of container was an easy one. Imagine the excitement I felt when I walked in to see my son happily supervising his sister as she joyfully flung kitty litter into the open dryer proving that it wasnít the container but the water that made clay. This unhappy discovery wasnít a complete loss for the scientific duo because the experiment had a similar effect on Mom as the toilet experiment had had on Dadónon-standard use of kitty litter leads to parental emotional overload. Here again height played an important role in the scientific process because it allowed my son to include the washing machine in the experiment.

Of course, one of our fatal mistakes was buying a two-story home. Two story homes have stairs. No, the problem is not children falling down stairs, although that certainly happened. No, stairs make a too convenient location for gravity investigations. We all know that gravity causes things to fall. But when youíre young, you may not be quite so certain that it causes all things to fall. Thus, when presented with the opportunity to determine if the cat or some other handy object will fall a child cannot resist. Older siblings, knowing that this is something that younger siblings need to explore, will often conspire to create additional experiment possibilities. Thatís how the pumpkin made it to the top of the stairs. Older brother toted the gargantuan pumpkin I had bought for porch decoration. Younger brother did the obvious thing and pushed it down our L-shaped staircase, thus proving that pumpkins do fall. That they also create holes in drywall nearly as large as themselves was just bonus knowledge.

Yes, Iím sure I have sufficient credentials to be a founding mother in the TMM. If I could come up with some means of establishing funding for a Tragic Martyr Mother of the Year award I would. Iím not sure a price can be put on the frantic nights and desperate days that young children bring, but $100,000 would be a nice start. However, one canít ask inductees into the group to pay a membership fee. That would add insult to injury. Small children havenít the means to be made to pay, and when kids finally are making their own money, theyíre more inclined to see their past activities as having added humor to your life rather than mental derangement. Husbands are still footing the bill for all the repairs and momís counseling visits. Until a wealthy philanthropist can be found, weíll all just have to settle for a nice certificate that can be framed and mounted on your kitchen wallóhigh on your kitchen wallówhere it canít be reached by standing on the kitchen table, a counter top, or a chair.

Tragic Martyr Mother's Certificate

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