The Bell Curve of Development (or Mitch’s Bitches)

I got home late for dinner. “Hang on a sec – you’re impugning one of the bitches…” Uncle Mark was saying as I plopped into my seat.

Hey – I’m not one to judge. Who’s a bitch?

“My bitches,” said my 16-year-old cousin Mitch.

Mitch’s bitches. (I admit, I was starting to get a little judgey here.)

Apparently, the drama people didn’t quite understand the inner workings of Mitch’s middle school gang. You see, there’s Mitch. And a bunch of female friends. I’m guessing this didn’t start out as a term of endearment. But you’ve gotta love it when a group commandeers an insult for their very own.

“Not just anyone can be a bitch,” Mitch noted – pulling out his phone to show pictures. (Mind you, my cousin is not a rebel without a clue. He is a saxophonist in band.)

Remember the big Homecoming dance back in high school? Girls would go in search of the perfect dress so they would look radiantly ravishing with their date – mostly standing in line for pictures that would be passed around like hot fire trading cards. But before you left for the fancy-dress dinner at Chili’s, you had to meet all the couples in your “group” to pose for the photo-frenzied parents.

This actually happened.

Homecoming Dad: So, Mitch. How are your hos?
Mitch: Huh?
Homecoming Dad: Your hos. You know – your group of hot girlfriends.
Mitch: You mean my bitches?
Homecoming Dad: Oh that’s right! How are them bitches treating you?

Meanwhile…

Homecoming Mom: Come on now! Let’s get a photo with all of the bitches. <Waving the gaggle of girls over onto the staircase with camera in hand.> Bitches over here!

Uh. Huh.

And remember those wallet-sized trading cards? Custom. Collectible edition.

From a peripheral perspective, the circle of life really is an interesting thing. Over the past year, my mom has watched her daughter’s children grow. They’ve gone from tiny helpless creatures amazed at the jerking movements that stem from the limbs attached to their own bodies, to mostly fully functional toddling terrors raining mischief upon all in their path.

The muppets have developed motor skills – fine and gross. Wave bye-bye, put the Cheerio in the cup (or your mouth, that works too). They’re starting to speak. I can see Search searching for the word when I ask him what he wants more of. They’re little sponges soaking in the world around them – which is finally starting to come into focus.

During that same time period, my mother watched her own mother regress. As Grandma Winnie grew sicker she became wobbly, losing her balance. Her coordination was off. She struggled for word choice. And the last day I spoke with her, she could barely muster the strength to voice her thoughts. Most heartbreaking was the revelation that she could no longer read; her focus was gone.

She drank small sips of water through a straw. Using the first instinct babies have – sucking. (Technically even the muppets were born with this instinct, even though they weren’t developed enough to actually do anything with it. Babies aren’t able to breastfeed or take a bottle until around 32 weeks gestation.) The first we’re born with is the last to leave us.

And during that extended time in the middle? Apparently you get bitches.

5 Comments

Filed under Family Stories, School

5 Responses to The Bell Curve of Development (or Mitch’s Bitches)

  1. Mitch

    I would just like it stated for the record that I was not involved in the naming of the group, and I don’t I actually use the term.

  2. Joanne Hamann

    I’m so proud! These are the moments you live for as a mom – NOT!

  3. Dalia

    WOW…
    that rivals my dad’s group- the Schmucks!

  4. Pingback: Barely Legal – Stream of the Conscious

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