Meanwhile, at the airport…

By Country-Fried Mama

By rights, I should love the Birmingham Airport.  After many years of dealing with Boston’s Logan Airport – the insane traffic into the city, the usurious cost of parking and the labyrinthine security lines that stretch all over the terminal and move forward approximately two inches per hour – Birmingham’s airport is a transportation dream come true.  It takes me 15 minutes from my driveway to a sweet parking space in the garage, for which I then pay only $1 – ONE DOLLAR! – per hour to occupy.

Country Fried MamaAnd yet, I can’t muster strong affection for our local airport.  Because that is where, every few months, I drop my mom off at the curb so she can go home to Massachusetts.

Generally, on our way there, I tell her all the things she would enjoy about life in Alabama:

Your granddaughters.

The weather.

The cost of living.

Your granddaughters.

The food.

And oh, did I mention? Your granddaughters.

She always has some lame excuse for not agreeing to relocate immediately.  Something about her job – blah, blah, blah – or her home – blah, blah, blah.

So she’s not moving South right now.  She did come visit recently, though, to keep me company while my husband was in Japan.

I think I kept most of my dirty, little parenting secrets in check while she was here, but I can’t help wondering what my mother thinks of my mothering.  If she saw me with my kids more frequently but for shorter periods of time, would she have a different impression of my mothering?

If, say, she never heard the frustrated way I talk to my toddler when we rise before the sun, would my mother be more impressed with my parenting skills?

If she saw me for an hour over lunch instead of in the final hour of a seemingly endless day, would she think more highly of my levels of tolerance and patience?

Would she think, “Well, she wasn’t the easiest kid, but she’s a good mother?”

I have a vivid and shameful memory of myself at about 12, throwing a dramatic tantrum sparked by my mother’s reaction to my request for a denim jacket — a really ugly, oversized denim jacket with rhinestones all over it that I wanted IMMEDIATELY.  I’m not sure she had even said “no.”  It might be that she had said, “later.”  Regardless, I was enraged.

I had no fashion sense, but I had a strong will.

Does my mother think of that moment when my children lay down at my feet and scream and pound their little fists against the floor?  Does she swallow a smile of satisfaction to see me struggle?

What goes around, comes around, little girl.

If so, she never lets on.

She doesn’t say, “You were awful! It will only get worse.”

She doesn’t criticize.  She doesn’t tsk, tsk.

She does make it clear she thinks I’m a bit stingy with TV time and juice boxes, and while I might struggle to teach my kids to hear “no” or “later” with more acceptance than I once did, my mother is now quick to grant most requests.

Which, I suppose, is as it should be, and is only one reason why my girls also have some mixed feelings about our trips to and from the airport.

What does your mother think of your mothering?  Do you try to tune into that or tune out?

Country-Fried Mama is a transplanted Yankee raising two girls in the land of college football, sweet tea, and refined manners. Visit her blog at and follow her on Twitter @countryfried

4 thoughts on “Meanwhile, at the airport…

  1. Well little girl, I think you do a better than fabulous job with your girls. I definitely think a better job, actually, than me. By some miracle you turned out superb, and of course your children will too. My philosophy was and is- just love them , love them , love them and let them know it – and it won;t matter quite so much about the “mistakes”. The jacket I caved in on and bought ,is not something I picture you would do though. You would probably by it before they think of it.
    I hope I’ll figure out how to live close by- Some say I’m already going south 🙂
    Love you
    p.s. you made me cry and that’s no fairs!

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