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  • When I was a small child, I fought my mother. I kicked and screamed and pulled hair and yelled ungodly things a small child should not say to her mother or to anyone really. Things that anyone who knows me now could never imagine me saying. Unless that person has dated me in which case I may have said worse.

    By middle school I was talking to my mother in condescending tones about her diet and her weight and the future of her health should she keep going on like this. I tried to get her to do crunches. I made her spend one hysterical evening in our basement doing pilates from which her obliques may still not have recovered.

    In recent years, I have become a kinder, gentler, more understanding person I think. My requests to my mother have become quieter and backed with more logic than hostility and reduced to suggestions that she see a nutritionist, walk once in a while, please, please, please go to a yoga class or something.

    And now my mother has fractured her ankle. And that shouldn't be a big deal, even for a woman in her 60s. Except that my mother is weak. And so it is a very, very big deal. She cannot drive. Or walk. Or get up by herself to use the bathroom. She is in between apartments and will have nowhere to go come Sunday for a month. And I live 3,000 miles away now from her Long Island home in Los Angeles, California and I cannot be there to help her. And I realize that from the time I was small and she was big, I detected a weakness in my mother. And I didn't know any better than to yell and kick and scream. But I was trying to make her stronger. The best a child can possibly know how to do. Because I saw the world and I knew that it was not a place for weak people and I so wanted my mother to survive.
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