I'm a Terrible Mother

Sep 28, 2023 by HL Bernabe, in Throwback Thursday

Last time I had home time, my kiddo Kaz and I decided to have a movie night while Micah was out having his dialysis. He does night-time dialysis now, so that left the evening free for us. Kaz is 11 1/2, just at that age where they want to watch more adult movies, especially scary ones.

I had told them that one of the scariest movies I had ever seen when I was young was The Shining. Who could not be scared by Jack Nicholson in that movie? Especially when he’s taking that axe to the door of the bathroom and Shelly Duvall is in there screaming, because she knows she has nowhere to go and her husband has completely flipped his lid and is swinging that axe ever closer toward her with murderous intent… Oh my.

It just so happened that I found a copy of The Shining while I was out on the road trucking. I was re-supplying somewhere—I don’t remember where (Walmart?)—and dug through the store’s bin o’ cheap stuff. That movie was in there and I think I got it for $5. I hadn’t seen it since I was a kid.

I hadn’t wanted to, truthfully. The movie gave me nightmares. I wondered if the movie was anything like the book, so I bought the Steven King novel it’s based on and got even worse nightmares. I think The Shining is probably the best of his horror books (I haven’t read his more recent stuff, so I qualify that by the horror stuff I was reading in the 80’s at any rate).

Kaz knew I had the movie because they watched me unpack. They suggested we watch it. I told them again that it was really, really scary and they might regret watching it if they watched it with me. They assured me they already knew what it was all about because one of our family friends had told them some of the great lines from the movie.

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

“Heeeeere’s Johhhny!”

“Redrum! Redrum!”

“Come play with us, Danny.”

They also said, “Besides, Mom, I see all kinds of way scary grossness on TV shows like NCIS all the time. They’ve got yucky bodies autopsied and stuff.”

I explained it wasn’t the same kind of scary. Not all scary requires blood and guts. The Shining is suspense scary. They seemed dubious about the distinction. So I relented. We both got our snacks and drinks and snuggled up on my bed and watched the movie on the TV in my bedroom.

Kaz started out next to me on the bed, sitting up straight, and was doing fine. About a third of the way through, I noticed they had slipped under the covers. Then it seemed like with every new little scary thing, as Jack is losing his mind and Danny is meeting the ghosties of the hotel, Kaz sunk




ever deeper

and deeper

under the covers,

until all I could see of their body was the top of their head and fingers clutching the blanket up to their face, just below the eyes.

For a while there, I wondered if they were breathing. They were holding absolutely still, ready to cover their eyes at a moment’s notice with the bedspread they had a death grip on. Kaz had sunk down as low as they could go. I asked them if they could see the TV okay, and I heard, barely audible, “Mmmhhm.”

I reeeeaaaaallly had the urge to reach over and grab them and yell “AAAUGH!”, so that they would scream and jump as high as the ceiling, but I resisted the temptation. The kiddo is lucky their mommy is so nice. Their grampa would have done it without hesitation.

Finally, the movie was over. I asked them what they thought of it.

“Great. Now I’m gonna have nightmares.” They turned over and flipped the covers over their head in exasperation.

Bwa ha ha ha! I am tempted, really tempted, to pull one over on them the next time I come home. I could tell them I missed Kaz and their daddy so much being out on the road that I got a new job. That we are going to move to some remote place out in Colorado and be the new caretakers for this bed-and-breakfast hotel over the winter. Oh, and by the way, I heard that it’s haunted…Which is perfect, because we’ll be moving in just in time for Halloween…

Better check with Micah on that one. Get him in on the act. Lessee, how can we make that believable since he’s on dialysis? Oh, yeah. Micah will switch to home dialysis, so we don’t have to worry about him having to go to clinics three times a week. *laughing evilly*

Should I do it? Naaah. I'm too nice. That would be mean. Scare the poor kid half to death. Teach them for not believing their mom about what makes a movie scary, though. But then,... I think they already learned that lesson.

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