Nearly half my life ago... did I really just say that? Sylar's eyebrows, I can't be that old... Anyway, some time ago I was a teenager in living in Indiana. During the winters, my mother and I would hibernate for weekends. Usually this involved sitting on the couch wrapped in blankets eating various munchables and playing the board game Aggravation. It's similar to Trouble and it provided hours of bonding between my mother and I. For those hours a cease fire was called in our teen-angst-frazzled-parent battle of wills. Mom and I had this board...it was wooden with divots drilled into it for the glass marbles we used as pawns. Rolls of 5 or more would end in a resonant, satisfying cllllllllack! as the marble slid over the board. For hours we would play this game. Then Monday would come back around and the cease fire would come to a crashing end. Usually this meant that I would just look at my mom with the derision only a "misunderstood anarchist hippy" 16 year old could muster and say, "You annoy me."
In 2008, flooding in southern Indiana meant that my mom lost just about everything. She moved out here with us, bringing the cats and what little she could salvage. One thing that didn't make it was that game. Imagine the joy on Christmas morning when Mom pulled out a cardboard version of the game she'd found on eBay. She and I introduced Sean and the kiddo to the game and when I took one of K's marbles with my own, I beamed with pride. "The cycle of mother-taking-daughter is now complete." The other day Sean, K and I played again and she managed to trap me and send my pawn back home. Well played, daughter mine. Well played. I can see that I must take off the gloves with this one.
I didn't realize the level of nostalgia, just how good those times with mom were, until Christmas Day. There were years where things between us were volatile, loud and crazy. During that same time when I would glare and say, "You annoy me," she'd be braiding my hair before band contests and watching from the stands. First face I found in any crowd.
When I found out that I was going to have a daughter, I cringed. I worried if our relationship would be as rocky as the one I had with my mom. Mom, of course, was thrilled. And naturally she sat back and enjoyed as someone entered the world who would dish out to me what I gave to her. K and I have started the tradition of Aggravation.
...I went to pick up K from school and as we were walking home she asked me a question. When she didn't like the answer she just looked up at me with a look of angst, and said, "You annoy me."
I'm not kidding.
I laughed. I laughed so hard that I cried then hugged her. The cycle continues, doesn't it?