Long before rapper Ice Cube was popular there was my mom. Ice Cube and The Cube were my nicknames for her when I was in my teens. My mom rarely ever showed emotions, well I’ll correct myself, she showed anger but that was about it. I clearly remember the only two times I have ever seen my mom cry; the first time I was 9 and it was my birthday, I heard my mom on the phone and she had just received word that her father passed away. It was an awful and foreign feeling seeing her cry. The next time I was 16 and getting ready for school when I heard her crying, I was frightened, I didn’t want to know what it was or why because it had to be horrific. I got the courage to go to her as she sat at the kitchen table, head in her hands and ask her what was wrong. She proceeded to tell me the night before she had gone to the outside freezer which was filled with a new batch of the half cow they would buy every year and between tears told me she left the door to the freezer open all night. Now I am even more frightened because I am waiting for the reason she is in tears, is she so distraught that she can’t tell me who died? I ask her “and then what?” she screams “that’s it! all the meat is spoiled, ruined, all that money is gone”. I think to myself is she really this upset over something like this? Yes, she was.
The other memory of my mom’s Ice Cube mentality was when I was 10, I admit I was somewhat spoiled and babied and by this age I knew there wasn’t a Santa Claus but I never admitted it and a small part of me held out hope it was true. Most if not all of my friends of the same age knew Santa wasn’t real and hadn’t believed for years but that didn’t change the way I felt. On this particular summer day I lost a tooth, I remember being so excited about putting it under my pillow that night and retrieving my money the tooth fairy would leave me. I carefully placed the tooth on a napkin and for whatever reason placed it atop the television. That evening after my bath I ran to get my tooth to place under my pillow but…. it was gone! I knew I put it there and I immediately started crying, my mom asks where I put it and I told her when she realized what happened; she had cleaned house earlier that day (and mind you she didn’t clean all that often) and didn’t notice the tooth and suspected she threw it in the trash. With me continuing to cry she decides to look through the trash in hopes she can find it. I don’t let up, I stand next to her as she goes through the kitchen trash she gets more angry and eventually dumps the entire trash on the kitchen floor realizing finding the tooth is like looking for the needle in a haystack. As the poor woman is going through the trash I repeatedly ask her if she’s found it yet and eventually she does the head spinning trick we’ve all seen in The Exorcist and says “dammit Denise there’s Santa Claus, there’s no Easter Bunny and there’s no Tooth Fairy”. Gulp, well that’s a pretty shitty way to tell me.
Since I became a parent I’ve looked back at that moment several times, I don’t look back with disappointment in my mom for saying that to me on that day as much as I wish she wouldn’t have let me get away with being such a demanding diva when I was a kid.