Thursday, January 31, 2013

Are You My Mother?

Karla* has always been a seeker of knowledge.  A finder of truth, if you will.  Even as a child, she was one of those annoying kids that was always asking, "What's this do?"  "How does this work?" and my personal fave "But, why?"

So, it shouldn't come as a surprise to you fun folks to know that Karla was also a bit of an arguer even as a little one, especially when she believed herself to be in the right.  Which opens this particular story of how Karla found out the truth about her mother.

Karla was in sixth, maybe seventh grade (she can't remember which), her science teacher thought it would be a grand idea to introduce the students to the world of genetics.  Of course, it was simple DNA type lessons, mostly about traits. Dominant and recessive.  Being the teacher that she was, she used the easiest comparison to demonstrate this: EYE COLOR.

This, friends, is what started it all.

See, Karla has blue eyes, as does her older brother.  Her mother, on the other hand, has brown eyes.  As the teacher is explaining the whole brown is the dominant color, blue recessive thingie-mabob, Karla's brain is working a mile a minute.  So, maybe Karla didn't hear all of the lecture.  Maybe Karla only heard that if her mother had brown eyes, there was no way she could have a blue eyed child.  Like, I said, MAYBE...but yanno...probably NOT.

Karla's hand shot up.  Thus begins the argument of the day.  "That's not true," Karla argues.  Her mother has brown eyes.  Karla has blue.  Explain that, teacher.  (Karla was a smartass, even then).  Teacher asks what color eyes The Mother's parents have.  Brown, Karla replies.

Teacher then asks the question of the day: What color are your Dad's eyes?

Karla does not hesitate with her response.  GREEN.  Because yes, her DAD has green eyes.  In that moment, she doesn't stop to think that MAYBE teacher meant the man whose name is actually on Karla's birth certificate NOT her DAD.

Teacher, clearly exasperated with Karla and ready for this nightmare of a lesson to end, says, "That's not possible."

Magic words, apparently, for they shut Karla up.  Instead, she considered Teacher's words.  That's not possible.  And Karla continued to mull it over for the rest of class and the school day.  That's not possible.

And Karla came to the only possible explanation: SHE'S NOT MY MOTHER!  That woman lied to not only Karla but Karla's brother.  ALL THESE YEARS.

Well, Karla being Karla, had to know the truth.  She had to know what happened.  Was she and her brother abducted from a mall as tiny kiddies?  Was her REAL mother out there somewhere looking for her?  Only one person had those answers, and Karla would get them from her.  She would have the TRUTH. (Right about now, you're picturing the courtroom scene in A FEW GOOD MEN where Tom Cruise is demanding the truth from Jack Nicholson.  Well, Karla could handle the truth. This I assure you)

And, Karla being Karla, decided the best course of action in this type of confrontation was a frontal assault (because in Karla's dozen or so years of life, she'd participated in many a war and knew all about military strategy).  She would need backup.

Enter the older brother.  On the bus ride home, Karla explained (complete with huge, flailing arm gestures for emphasis) to the brother everything that she had discovered. Karla, being Karla, took his silence not for the shell-shocked upset that is was but rather for quiet outrage and an unspoken agreement that together we would get the truth from The Mother.

This friends, was not how the confrontation played out.  While Karla shot out questions and accusations at the mother like they were well-aimed heat-seeking missiles, the older brother kept repeating the same tearful two sentences over and over, like some kind of scratched CD.  "You're not our mom? You tell her you're our mom, Mom!"  He really was no help in the matter, whatsoever.

After many a heated minutes, the Mother finally wrangled control of her two children and explained to both Karla and her brother that yes, we were her children.  and yes, we do have blue eyes and her brown.  BUT, the man whose name is on our birth certificates has blue eyes and that is where we get it from.  Again, she is our mother.

Not to be dissuaded by such an easy explanation, Karla still had her doubts.  To which the mother jokingly replied, "Okay, you got me.  I was out driving one day when I was sixteen and saw two children playing in the middle of the road.  I thought, hey TAX DEDUCTION and took you home with me."

To this day, Karla and the Mother joke about this particular argument. It never fails to make us laugh about how angry I was that day to think she'd lied to me, and that I was going to find out the truth no matter what.    My favorite is when we are discussing something and I tell her she's being mean to me.  Her reply, "Now, if I was your REAL mother..."

Well played, Mother.  Well played.

Like my mother always says.  We're the FUN kind of dysfunctional.  I kinda have to agree on that one.  How about you fun folks?  Have you ever had a moment where you were sure the people claiming to be your parents were really aliens from the planet Quasar...or some other far off planet?  Do share ;)

*not quite sure why Karla feels the need to talk about herself in the third person, but let's go with it, shall we?