So, I"m currently reading Jeannette Winterson's memoir,"Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?"-- an insightful, lyrical read, much like the beautiful novels she writes which I treasured in my early twenties. Yesterday, I was telling Primo about the book, as I sometimes do, and I regaled him with this truly, epically awful thing Jeannette Winterson's adoptive mother used to say to her, constantly, while she was growing up.
"The Devil lead me to the wrong crib!"
This observation had the effect of reminding Jeannette that she was adopted, and also that she had a touch of Satan to her. As abominable parenting goes, it's a pretty spectacular feat of awfulness.
I like to impart these stories to my kids -- when I was reading "The Liar's Club," I told them about how Mary Karr's mother burned all her toys in a huge bonfire -- and I think the reason is obvious. It is to show what a great mother I am, by comparing myself to parents who should be locked up for unforgivable abuses.
The implicit message to my kids is: "Remember when you said I was the worst mother in the world because I took away your dessert when you hit your sister? Perhaps you overstated the situation?"
So, I told Primo about the devil comment and we laughed about how awful it was and then he fell silent thoughtfully for a moment and observed: "Boy, people like to write about their wacko mothers.'
"They sure do," I agreed.
"Maybe I will too, one day." he mused.
I had to laugh. It would be my just desserts, really, after writing my own memoir.
"I'll try to give you more material," I told him. "Wouldn't want to disappoint."