When I was growing up, my parents didn’t get much involved in conflicts I had with other kids. Their take on it was to let us figure it all out on our own (unless, of course, someone got hurt, I guess). Basically, whenever I told them about someone bullying me or teasing me, they’d respond, “Just laugh with them! They will see it doesn’t bother you!” My response was always, “That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard.” Obviously, my preferred reaction was to cry and tell my parents. It was a vicious cycle for a few years.
Likewise, my parents never got into arguments with other people in town, except for in three cases. One was when the town was planning to build a sewer system and required everyone to sign up for it and also pay for the installation in their yards, which I remember cost a ton of money. Our property was just outside of the town limits, but the sewer was extended to our neighborhood regardless, and so my father went on a tear at a town meeting and yelled and screamed in a rare anti-government rage. (“Government” here is a liberal term. The town council had been the same bunch of old dudes for years and they just kept alternating who was mayor.)
The other two instances were a bit more passive aggressive. When Oliver North was running for senate in Virginia, one of the more vocally republican women in town put up a gigantic sign with his name in her front yard. My mother and grandfather both thought this was so ridiculous, so they painted giant signs that read, “SOUTH,” and then giggled for the rest of the election cycle. (We made the Westmoreland News!) Once there was a proposed ordinance that would allow bow-hunting within the town limits to control “the massive deer problem;” the paper reported that people had complained that deer were getting close to their swimming pools. The only pool within the town limits was owned by the mayor, who lived on our street. Again, my mother found this to be so stupid that she went to the hardware store and bought “NO HUNTING” signs—one for our yard, and one for our grandfather’s, as he lived next door to the mayor; she stuck the sign next to the mayor’s driveway “so he would see it every time he pulled into his yard.” Two weeks later the paper reported that the proposal was struck down, and that “it was no longer necessary to post ‘no hunting’ signs in town.’”
I just remembered another instance of my mom being AWESOME this morning. Katy was saying that a fellow mom in her mom group (or whatever one might call it) was crowd-sourcing on Facebook about how much money to pay for teeth from the tooth fairy. It reminded me of when I was in first grade. I had lost my first tooth and woke up the next morning to find a fifty-cent piece under my pillow. I was so excited! And then I came back from school that afternoon in tears because one of my classmates got TWO CHAPTER BOOKS from the Tooth Fairy. My mother is still so proud of herself for calling that poor girl’s mother and yelling at her. “What the hell is wrong with you? Why do you insist on ruining it for the rest of us?”