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Essays by Karen Anderson: Blame Me

Illustration by Kacie Brown

“Maybe I wasn’t the greatest mom,” I said, “but I must have done a few things right.”

“None,” my daughter said, grinning.

We were sitting at the kitchen table, drinking coffee and catching up. Sara was an adult now and home for a visit.

“Well,” she added, “Maybe there was one thing.” I wondered what it could be, hoping she might say how much she appreciated the way I read her books or helped with homework.

“You told me I could blame you,” she said. “Remember?”

“Remind me.’

“You told me that if I didn’t want to do something, like stay out late or go somewhere with a bunch of friends, I could always say my Mom won’t let me. That really came in handy.” I knew what she meant. My parents always set an early curfew and I was often grateful for an excuse to get home.

Then, when I was a senior in college, we could get keys to the residence hall and suddenly there was no curfew. Sometimes I said I didn’t have a key. I had discovered that freedom is more free when it has limits.

“Well, I’m glad I did something right,” I told Sara. “Feel free to blame me anytime.”

“I do,” she said.

Karen Anderson contributes "Essays by Karen Anderson" to Interlochen Public Radio.