Once, when I was eleven, I needed my mother. I don't remember the particular reason now, I only know I thought I desperately needed her. Only she was sitting at the kitchen table working on her recipe box and no matter how I asked her to talk to me, she refused. She told me I could not get her to pay attention to me.
I'll admit I was supposed to be a difficult child. I was ADHD, though I had an unusual diagnosis. Having been born in 1944, the term had either not been invented or the doctor in my small Missippi town had not heard of it. He told my parents the only way he could explain my behavior was that had I been born a horse, I would have been a race horse. Pretty good description, if you ask me.
It was summertime and hot in Georgia and I needed my mother. She was mostly a distant mother for a difficult child, though I once had a therapist tell me I wasn't a bad child, my parents were inadequate at parenting me. She also added she thinks all parents do the best they can do, however, it often can be inadequate for the child. So I no longer blame my parents for my behavior. I own it. But I certainly didn't at eleven.
At eleven I was angry and sad and scared and I wanted my mother to talk to me. So I went out to the backyard to sulk and figure out what I could do. About that time I saw the wasp nest that was on our house and a great idea came to me. I took down the wasp nest and took it inside. "Mother," I said. "If you don't pay attention to me, I am going to eat all this wasp larvae." She didn't look up, nor did she answer me. She just kept right on with those hateful recipes and for the first time, I thought to myself I might just have to eat the wasp larvae.
Slowly, with exxagerated movements - surely my mother would notice any moment and stop me - I got out the big iron skillet and filled the bottom with butter. I turned on the skillet and melted the butter, all the while my heart was pounding and I was sure, that at any moment, my mama would say, "Rachel, don't be silly darling. You are not to eat wasp larvae and I will gladly stop this with my recipes and talk with you." But try as hard as I could, I never heard those words.
And, stubborn as I was, I dug out all the wasp larvae and put it in the skillet with the sizzling butter. I fried them and there were quite a few. It took forever for them to turn from yellow to a pale brown and, as I stirred, tears began finding themselves down my cheeks. I think I let out a little sob that no mother could ignore and would definitely stop their child. Only I heard nothing from my mother at the table, but index cards being shuffled about. So I fried the wasp larvae and sat down and ate them. All of them. Truly it wasn't that bad as I mostly tasted the butter. But truly it was that bad as I knew what was going down my throat.
I couldn't stop the tears streaming, and all this time I watched my mother and her recipes. And not once did she try and stop me. When I finished all the larvae my mother looked at me and said, "You can't do anything to control me." And that's it. The day I ate the wasp larvae because I needed a mother. I wish I could say that stopped me doing crazy things to get her attention, but actually, it was only the beginning.
Thank you for reading. rachel