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summer

What to Do When Your Daughter Says, “Mama, I Can’t Stand You”

sarah tuttle-singer with daughter in israel

And this is how it was this afternoon—my daughter and I pink and tired, our edges sharp, match-match, but misaligned.

And it’s hot today—the sun heavy and unyielding, like our moods, my daughter and I, stuck on repeat, a broken record, while my son watched from his perch in the kitchen, cartoon eyes wide.

And then, she blew the hair out of her face, and scowled, “Mama, I can’t stand you.”

And I turned from pink to red-hot-fire as I remembered once upon a hot late afternoon when I threw the same attitude at my mother, and in return she threw a glass of water at me.

“Cool off,” she said.

And I did.

READ: In Israel, Baseball is Too Babyish to Play

And—oh, AWESOME!!!—there beside me on the table was a glass of water, half full. Right there. Just waiting. (Not too hot. Not too cold. Just. Right.)

And I saw my mother’s hands—no, my hands—lift the pink glass, and hurl the water at my daughter.

She sat there, soaked and indignant. And then, she picked up her glass and threw her water at me.

And I sat there, soaked and indignant, too. (Match-match.) Both of us, cooling off in the late afternoon, looking at each other, our eyes the same shape—just like my mothers. Our mouths set the same way, as hers, too, our cheeks both pink. (Match-match.)

READ: Hey Kids, You Have a Choice–Grumpy Mama or Fun Mama?

And I don’t know who laughed first. Maybe my daughter. Maybe me. Maybe both of us at the exact same time. But while our skin cooled, and our hair curled, we laughed and laughed and laughed. And we refilled our cups, and poured them out again.

“Girls are crazy,” my son said, shaking his head from the kitchen.

“What’s your point, kiddo?” I said.

My daughter lifted her glass and clinked mine. “Let’s get him.”

And we did.

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