Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Entry #10

Reflexing Upward
by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Stephanie rode the up escalator toward the beauty salon. Despite my admonitions, she still intended to get her nose pierced.

My wonder at her behavior was ill-placed. As a nursling, she had determined the schedule. As a toddler, her naptime had necessitated her placing dozens of animals “correctly” along her bedrail. As a school child, she had refused to wear any clothing lacking a blue-purple hue.

Mom had tried to caution me, claiming that Stephie was payback for my youthful intransigence, akin to my serving as Mom’s cosmic settlement for Mom’s adolescent obduracy. At the time, I had shrugged and had asked Mom to tell me again about her climbing the cherry tree, against Grandma’s will, to provide the village’s children, especially herself, with fruit.

Mom had obliged, highlighting that the sight of her, without proper bloomers, in turn, had resulted in my conception and in her hasty marriage. She then addended, it had been of small surprise that I had been rejected by the beautiful Ivy League university of her dreams. After all, I had written about the value of women’s traditional roles instead of espousing how I could fit in among men.

Hours later, Stephie and I rendezvoused in the linens department. Though her face was literally veiled, I noted the new patent leather, salmon-colored belt girding her waist and her fresh, chartreuse nail polish. At home, after my child removed her wrappings, I gasped; she had also gotten her hair frosted.


peggy said...

Oh the joys of motherhood LOL. Very good work, describes most young adults at some time or another. Excellent!

Anonymous said...

Generational payback - lol!

Sarah Hina said...

Rebellion and obstinancy run deep...there must be a gene. :)

The generational aspect was really nice here, as well as the descriptive detail. Times have changed, but the indomitable spirit remains the same. The ending really made me smile. Always raising the stakes...

Anonymous said...

I liked this. Especially the bit about "As a toddler, her naptime had necessitated her placing dozens of animals “correctly” along her bedrail. As a school child, she had refused to wear any clothing lacking a blue-purple hue."

It reminded me of my daughter. She's 2 1/2. :)


Anonymous said...

Delightful, beautifully written and yes, our children's children are our revenge!

JaneyV said...

I guess this is a bit of generational escalation. I love the grandmother climbing the cherry tree without her bloomers. I can only assume that the next generation will be ultra conservative to piss her Mom off!

laughingwolf said...

all kinds of mischief when no bloomers are evident ;) lol

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Great read...imaginative and fresh!

Ruinwen Dagorielle said...

I really enjoyed how you worked the theme of rebellion "ascending" to the next generation. Great piece. :)

Lena said...

this one is really imaginative, beautifully put into words. I enjoyed reading :)

Sameera Ansari said...

Nice depiction of the woes of motherhood :)

Rachel Green said...

This is too close to home!
Well done!

JR's Thumbprints said...

This story has muscle. Way to go!

Unknown said...

Peggy, my family never experienced piercings or other such "brazeness," (I'm Blessed with teenage sons and teenage daughters), but my family now sports a base guitar as well as a flock of babysitters who like to terrorize parents by teaching analytical chemistry to smaller children. See my blog on teens,, for more.

Aggie, I think I know where my mom earned her gray hair. I never frosted mine, but Grandma did climb a plum tree. For a tale of even worse family problems, please see my “Female Troubles,” in Static Movement,

Sara Hina,

You salved this writer's self-esteem with your kind words. All I can offer you is a different take on generations and on heritage. See my “Airline Aliyah Achdut,” in The Jewish Woman,

Dear Strugglingwriter/Paul:

I was that toddler! My oldest son was that baby. My youngest daughter was that school-aged girl. In some ways, the teen in this tale is a family composite. For more verbal photos, please read
my "Alphabetical Trails" and my "Baby Spits Peas" at Poetry Super Highway,

Peter, Thanks for your generous words. my mom used to say that little ones step on the feet, but big ones step on the heart. Fortunately, she also used to say that whereas kids are the investments, grandkids are the dividends. The Mom I created in “Popcorn,” Doorknobs and Bodypaint, has yet to see that pay off.

Janey V, I think that each generation chooses its own means of articulating self-definition. My kids know more about praying than I do, but they also are more invested in LARGE ear rings, specifically, and in "physical enhancements," in general, than me. Sometimes such an investment pays off. Consider the fortune of the cosmetician in my “The Inheritance of the Meek,” Static Movement,

Laughing Wolf,
Yup, missing bloomers gets a girl in trouble. Take, for instance, the case of the abandoned prostitute in my “Services Rendered,” Flashshot,

K.Lawson Gilbert,
Flattery will get you everywhere...with me. For a second helping, try my “Recumbent Riches” in Bewildering Stories,

Ruinwen, you know, it's said that what goes up must come down. Sometimes, though, what's grounded motors up and flies away. Check out my “Car for Sale” at AntipodeanSF,

Lena, after a day of rejection slips, words like yours keep me from letting my hibernaculum of imaginary hedgehogs permanently take away my keyboard. I invite you to also read my "An Olah’s Chanukah Habayit” at The Blue Jew Yorker,

*~*{Sameera}*~*, thank-you for the compliment! I'm loaning my kids out until they learn to pick their clothing off of the floor and to cap the toothpaste. Want some adolescents cheap? While you're thinking about it, try my poem about more significant troubles like war, captivity, famine, and the like, “Delusions of a Hill Shepherd” at Ken*Again,

Leatherdykeuk, I think if we don't sell them, then we should rent them out. I just finished a 200 essay run for The Jerusalem Post. Some of that blog's posts concerned raising New World teens in an Old World culture. Check out “Old/New World Discourse,”

JR's Thumbprints, first, I love your name. Second, I am gratful for your positive description of my flash fiction. Again, thanks! For an additional meaty mentation, try my “Have Another (Double Bind),” at Fictionville,

Catherine Vibert said...

Oy! Motherhood, eh? It isn't easy that is for certain. This was really wonderfully written, great job.

Unknown said...


If we mothers don't stick togther, we will have no one with whom to share our triumphs (e.g. like getting those teen sons to pick up thier laundry from the floor at least once a month). Also, we'll be lonely in our joys ( the teen daughter who was stressed about getting into the school of her choice and then, "just happened" to get a letter welcoming her). Sigh. It's a good thing most of us come with padding.

Esther Avila said...

Not a little girl anymore....
You did a great job at describing the emotions felt by the mother and the description of what had transpired between mom and her mother. Very nicely written.

Unknown said...


Where do the years go?

bluesugarpoet said...

I love that the shocking reveal is that the Stephie got her hair *frosted*! Great tribute to the mother/daughter dynamics that make their relationship seem more adventurous than strained. Nicely done!


Unknown said...


Once, when I was twenty-one, and far away from home, in graduate school, I, too, did something similarly "radical;" I had a single piercing made in each of my more magnetic ear jewelry for me!!

Anonymous said...

Great job on pacing!

Thanks for being a wonderful part of the contest!