The Most Fun You’ll Never Have, Kathleen’s Amazing Bathroom Tour!


imageKathleen Swain and her daughters

Upper Left, Linda Swain Bethea, Right, Phyllis Swain Barrington

First Row Left, Kathleen Holdaway Swain (see how deceptively nice she looks)  Connie Swain Miller, Marilyn Grisham
It’s discouraging writing about my mother, Kathleen Holdaway Swain.  Despite my long, rich history of complaining endlessly about the trials of dealing with her, she keeps getting the best of me.  It’s made worse because I tower over her, outweigh her, and am much more physically imposing, but then, who isn’t?  I do my best to take care of her, and should I exhibit the slightest impatience, onlookers treat me like I am maligning a saint.  Granted, she is tiny, far less than five feet tall, has a squeaky Minnie Mouse voice, and looks like a delightful little old church-lady.  Though she smiles and greets every soul she meets, inwardly she is malicious and conniving, constantly plotting to make me look bad.  Sometimes it doesn’t take much.

Not so long ago, my sisters and I took Mother on a girl-trip.  We were laughing just before we got out of the car about the way she’d lecture us against potential bad behavior before she had to drag the five of us hyenas (her word) into a store or business. When we inevitably started to ask for stuff, anyway, despite her stern warning, she’d fix us with a look from Hell and warn, “Don’t start!  Just don’t start!”  That dried us right up.  

First of all, Mother is the slowest person in the history of Motherdom, in case I never mentioned it before.  As she walks along, she keeps a look out for lost coins in the parking lot and frequently finds them, additionally stopping to greet all passersby.  This was the first stop of the trip. I was hurrying ahead leaving her to drag up the rear, since I had to buy gas, thinking my sisters could keep her out of trouble.  Rather than dawdling with them as they got out of the car, she came running behind me like her life depended on not getting left, and believe me, it was not because she intended to buy gas.  She has four daughters to take care of that.  As a joke, she picked it where our conversation left off, calling behind me, “Linda, wait for me!  I want you to buy me…….”

            Not realizing we had an audience of a couple in their late sixties, I called out behind me, without bothering to look, knowing she was just continuing our conversation from the car.  “Don’t start!  Just don’t start!”  Men in their fifties and sixties just love Mother, assuming she is just a sweet, little old lady, just like their dear mother.  They have no idea of the trouble she is capable of.  The man glared at me, striding into the store, leaving my poor, mistreated, little, old mother alone and uncared for, abandoned in the parking lot.  He took her by the arm and helped her into the store, making sure she had all the attention she needed.  He fixed her up with a sandwich and coffee, after fixing me with a scathing look of hatred.  I had no idea what I might have done till she rubbed my nose in it later.  I only wish he’d hung around long enough to know she was on her way to destroy the bathroom, literally, but more on that tomorrow.

To be continued…….


50 thoughts on “The Most Fun You’ll Never Have, Kathleen’s Amazing Bathroom Tour!

  1. My mum after years of not admitting she is old is now suddenly playing the old card at 86 when it suits her. Do you ever think your turning in to your mother ? I do and it scares me 😳


  2. She’s no doubt remembering all the difficulties she went through and you’re in for it. I love it when a mother says, “You’ll be sorry when I’m gone.” Those ladies always live the longest. 😀 — Suzanne


  3. Was at the grocery store with my young grandson and he started throwing a fit because he wanted a toy gun out of a machine. Having become quite paranoid about children playing with guns (o.k. yeah it was maybe an inch long not like he was going to develop an addiction but anyway…), I told him he could have something from any other machine. He had never had toy guns at this point, I think we were all paranoid. I took him outside to have his fit and sat down on a bench while he screamed. A little old lady comes along and says “Here, I will give you a quarter.” I said, “He’s not allowed to have guns.”. She just smiled and walked away. I was royally pissed. Now I look back and think of my mother and know she would have done the same thing. I don’t think the lady knew what the real issue was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • No she was connecting with a small boy, but she also understood grand mothering, I’ll bet. That battle with kids and guns just doesn’t stop, does it. My grandson wasn’t allowed a guns, so he made a gun out of anything else.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Times have certainly changed. Remember the days of cowboys and Indians. Now the name “Indian” is politically incorrect, guns are not an appropriate toy and the game is seen as negative play. What happened to innocence? It doesn’t seem to exist any longer. The biggest thing I resent about having been molested is that I don’t feel like I was ever innocent. Sucks! Hey, thanks for being someone I can talk like this with. Your are so compassionate. Your sense of humor is out for all to see but I wonder if your compassion gets the kudos it deserves.😍

        Liked by 1 person

              • I saw my stepson come out of Federal Prison at the same maturity level as when he went in. He had missed so many opportunities to mature. The good news is that he found a girl who was younger but their maturity levels matched. The are married with 3 beautiful daughters and he is a super dad and husband. So yeah, while I still see my immaturity, I have become a self-help junkie in an attempt to catch up. Unfortunately, that little girl inside me doesn’t always get it. Thanks for being there.😍

                Liked by 2 people

                • It was hard to see him go in but I have to tell you that the whole family and extended family were grateful. If he hadn’t gone in, he would probably be dead by now. We stood by him but did not enable him. We visited regularly which kept him grounded. He made the best of his time in prison. When he came out, he started out trying to make up for lost time with alcohol and women until he met Angela. If you could see them and their daughters together, it gives you such a good feeling. I have hopes for your niece but sometimes it doesn’t get through the first time. My stepdaughter is in the throws of drug addiction and we have had to let go so she can hit her bottom. It is the most loving thing we can do for her. She has seen her parents go through it and knows the pain it caused her but she is nevertheless in the same boat. Her father and I know that the only way she is going to get it is to hit her bottom and no matter what she has been through, losing her children, going to jail, losing everything financially, losing good jobs – none of it has been her bottom. All you can do is love them through it without enabling.

                  Liked by 1 person

  4. Having looked after my mother for six years until 95 I get it! My mother could bring a hospital waiting room to a complete standstill with a performance worthy of Joan Crawford whilst I would sit beside her reading a book getting filthy looks. Strong as an ox! We would exit later with her waving to the crowd and asking where we were having coffee.


  5. I must admit, she had me fooled. She looked like a sweet, good-natured, butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-her-mouth old lady. Now I find she is in reality a master manipulator of the greatest cunning. You never can tell.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. nugget59 says:

    I understand the “look from hell” – my mom perfected the hairy eyeball and often paired it with a sharp pinch on the tricep (hurts like heck – the pinch and the hairy eyeball). I’m so glad you have your mom around to enjoy and that you have such fun stories to share. Hey – thanks for the follow!

    Liked by 1 person

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