I’m a Little Teapot

By Lisa Scottoline

Once again, I learned something from Daughter Francesca.

I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be the other way around.

Either she’s a really smart kid or I’m a really dumb mother.

We begin last month, when Francesca had a cold and comes home with a neti pot.

If you’ve never seen a neti pot, it looks like the small pot they serve tea in in restaurants, which is cute.

Except a neti pot is not cute.

This is where it gets disgusting.

If you’re eating, move on.

But if you want to change your life, keep reading.

When Francesca came home, I asked her to show me how to use a neti pot.

So she fills the neti pot with distilled water, puts in a little packet of God knows what, and screws the cap on. Then she inserts the spout of the neti pot into her right nostril, tilts her head to the left over the sink, and pours water up her nose.

You know what comes out her left nostril?

Water and snot.

I almost threw up. It gave me nightmares.

Until I got a cold.

And I bought a neti pot.

And it changed my life.

My sinuses felt clean for the first time ever.

And my cold went away.

Meanwhile I didn’t even know I had sinuses beside my nose.

But my neti pot did.

I get more oxygen now than ever before.

I breathe like a champ.

My sinuses sparkle.

So I’m addicted to my neti pot. I use it every night, whether I need to or not. I can’t even wait until bedtime to clean my sinuses.

It’s sex for middle-aged women.

Meanwhile I barely shower.

I can’t be bothered.

And my hair never gets greasy like it did when I was young and normal.

It’s straw now.

At this point, I’m pretty sure it repels water.

Anyway to return to point, it’s easy to use a neti pot, once you practice.

All you do is stick it up one nostril and start pouring.

At first you’ll feel like you’re waterboarding yourself.

Don’t worry.

You are.

I forgot to mention, you have to keep your mouth open and breathe.

I forget that sometimes at night.

Basically I drown myself before bed.

If you forget the directions, remember the song:

“I’m a little teapot, short and stout.

Here is my handle, here is my spout.

Now stick it up your nose.”

Okay, that’s not the song.

I remember on the show Welcome Back, Kotter, when Vinnie Barbarino used to say “up your nose with a rubber hose.”

My mother always thought that was hysterical.

But that’s exactly what using a neti pot feels like.

It’s like a douche for your nostrils.

Meanwhile, does anyone even douche anymore?

I found a website for womenshealth.gov, which said that about a fifth of women between fifteen and forty-four still douche.

Why?

Why did anybody ever douche?

Way back when, Mother Mary did. She told me that women were supposed to so they were clean down there.

Where?

The sinus of the south.

Are you throwing up yet?

I remember there were commercials for douche on TV, telling you in sneaky ways that your vagina was stinky.

But I’m pretty sure it smelled like a vagina.

I checked online, and all the websites I found recommend unanimously that women should not douche.

Your vagina is self-cleaning. Like your oven.

But not like your sinuses.

It reminded me of another memory of my mother, and I have so many I think of them as mommaries.

Mother Mary was in a hospital gown being wheeled into surgery, and when the orderly moved the sheet aside, there was spotting underneath. The orderly hastily covered it up, embarrassed for her.

Mother Mary shrugged. “Don’t worry, it’s rust.”

Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2024

Peach Forever

By Lisa Scottoline

There’s something worse than losing a dog.

Losing two dogs.

Which just happened in my family.

But this column isn’t about death, it’s about life.

By way of background, Daughter Francesca lost her wonderful Pip during the holidays. He succumbed to cancer at the age of fifteen, and we were able to be with him at the end, which was blessedly peaceful. And then, unexpectedly, my dog Peach fell ill last week when her kidneys failed, and we were able to be with her at the end of her fourteen years, which was also peaceful.

It was the worst instant replay ever.

But losing both Pip and Peach got me thinking that the sadness over their passing is part-and-parcel of the unique happiness they gave us, as the older generation in our dog family of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Pip, Peach, and the late Little Tony were the older generation, and Pip and Peach were even half-brother and half-sister, having the same father. I still have Peach’s two sons, Boone and Kit.

At two human beings and five dogs, we were outnumbered.

Leg-wise, that’s four to twenty.

Though my legs are hairier.

People say dogs are a member of their family, but in our case, the reverse was true – we were members of their family.

And it was a hoot to watch them relate like a human family.

Peach was the smallest, but she barked nonstop, keeping everyone in line. If she smoked, she could have passed for Mother Mary.

Every night starting at 7:00, she would stand at the window overlooking the backyard and bark until 11:00 at night. The window was in the family room, so it was impossible to watch TV.

Bottom line, there was too much family in the family room.

Most nights I would let her out in the front yard so she could bark at the backyard, and the only thing missing was a side yard so she could bark at the front and the backyards at the same time.

Like stereo agita.

All of this barking kept squirrels, birds, deer, and passing clouds in order.

In fact, I’m pretty sure the world is safe from atomic warfare because of Peach.

And don’t think my neighbors hate me, because they’re too far away to hear.

Even as she got older, she never stopped barking. She had heart issues severe enough for the vet to tell me not to walk her anymore, but she barked forever.

Meanwhile her barking never bothered me.

I have nothing against a woman speaking up.

And she bore two terrific puppies, then got to live with them all her life, a terrific mother from day one. All of her feistiness was reserved for anything or anyone who tried to mess with her puppies. We whelped them in my bedroom, and just once Uncle Little Tony stuck his head in to see what was going on.

Peach got busy.

Mother grizzlies have nothing on mother cavaliers.

And she barely slowed down as she got older, except that she got mitral valve disease, which caused her heart to enlarge.

She was a little dog with a big heart, literally.

She slept on the pillow next to me, and because her heart was too big, I could actually hear it beat at night, in the stillness of my bedroom.

And I could feel its vibration on my pillow.

It was a comforting sound that lulled me to sleep, like nature’s lullaby.

To love a dog, or any animal, is to fully realize what it is to be a human being.

And how connected we are to animals, and honestly to everything in the world.

I have a dog family, but I believe there is a much larger family we all belong to.

That family includes people of kinds, and dogs, and trees, and various bugs and even the sky and the stars.

It was my little dog with the big heart that brought me to that realization, every night from my pillow to the sky entire.

I will miss my little Peach.

But I will always have her with me.

And so will you.

Love each other.

Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2024

Column Classic: Rewarding, Or Why Free Is Dumber Than You Think

By Lisa Scottoline

Here’s what I’m telling you: beware “rewards points.”

What?

Yes, that’s right. I said it, and if you remember, it wasn’t always thus. I used to be a big fan of rewards points.

Let’s review.

I remember the day I found out that my credit card was accumulating rewards points, because I felt like I had won the lottery.

Okay, a really tiny lottery, but still, free is free, and I was excited. The way my credit card worked was that every time I used it, it accumulated points that enabled me to choose free stuff from a free catalog, full of freeness.

Wow!

I even wrote about how hard it was to pick stuff out of the free catalog, mainly because I was so dazzled by the free part that I thought I might faint.

I’m not cheap, but free has a unique power, no? I couldn’t go wrong if it didn’t cost me anything.

Or so I thought.

And since then, I’ve been all over the reward thing. I’ve even spread the word. Daughter Francesca is about to get a new credit card, and I’ve advised her to make sure she gets one with rewards.

Who doesn’t want to be rewarded?

Lately, me.

I came to this epiphany with my new spice rack. I saw it in the free catalog, and I forget how many points it cost, because it all came down to the same thing:

It’s FREE, dummy!

So, I bought/ordered/ willed it to exist in my house. And now, sitting atop my oven, is a too-cool-for-school spice rack from Dean & DeLuca. All of the spices are in glass test tubes with real corks, so they’re visible from the side and have nice colors. But the spices are things like lavender and Tellicherry peppercorns.

Huh?

I have no idea when lavender became a spice, but it does look pretty in its purple test tube. Too pretty to use, and anyway, what would I put lavender on?

Marigolds?

The rack also includes imported spices, like Greek oregano and French tarragon. Thank God. You wouldn’t want tarragon from anywhere else, would you? And I smelled the Greek oregano, which smells exactly like American oregano, which smells like a pizza parlor.

So maybe that, I’ll use.

Or eat out of the jar.

But I’ve never used any of the spices in the rack, and the test tubes don’t say when they expire, so the bottom line is, the French tarragon should have stayed in Paris. It was a waste, even though it cost nothing.

Paradoxical, no?

The spice rack taught me that even though something is free, I might not want it. I don’t need it. I’m not going to use it. If I had really wanted the spice rack, I would have bought it, and the fact that I didn’t means I shouldn’t have it in the house, at any price.

Even free.

That was my life lesson.

Let me interject to say that the problem may be endemic to spices. Even before the test-tube spice rack, I’d been known to buy spices that I’d never use. Mainly because I want to be the kind of person who cooks with green curry, I’d buy the spice and throw it out when it became a solid block of greenness. I’d make this same mistake around the holidays, when I’d pick up fresh jars of allspice, ground cloves, and cinnamon, which is the kind of thing I imagine the Cake Boss tosses into his shopping cart. But I never use it, and I’m no Cake Boss.

Cake is the boss of me.

Come to think of it, the real problem may be that I’m a stinky cook, as I barely use any spices at all, and in this regard, I am my mother’s daughter.

Let’s blame Mother Mary. After all, she’s not here, and she doesn’t read the column.

Truth to tell, there was no spice rack in our house growing up, and we had only four spices: dried oregano, garlic salt, onion salt, and salt.

Mother Mary mainly cooked Italian, and salt.

We didn’t even have pepper because Mother Mary is enough pepper for anybody.

And to this day, when she visits me and makes meatballs or tomato sauce, we first make a trip to the grocery store to buy her salts, with their preservatives included the faker the better.

And you know what?

Her food tastes delicious.

And I feel rewarded.

Almost free.

Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2011

Emergency Branzino

By Lisa Scottoline

I look on the bright side of things. 

For example, I went to the ER last night, but at least my socks matched. 

That’s what I mean. 

The number of times I wear matching socks in my life is exactly nil. 

The only reason I was wearing matching socks this time was because I had been visiting Daughter Francesca in New York, and in New York, you have to wear matched socks. 

In Pennsylvania, you don’t. 

Here, all we want is warm feet. 

And not only do my socks never match in color, they’re often different types. 

Like usually I have a sweat sock on one foot and a wool sock on the other. 

Why? 

Why not? 

Who cares? 

I think socks are booby-trapped because they come matched. 

My socks don’t stay with their mates longer than I did. 

Maybe my socks are divorced. 

To return to point, it was after I’d gotten home from New York last night that I ended up in the hospital ER. It all started because I hadn’t eaten dinner and I had a piece of branzino in the refrigerator, which I had bought when Francesca was home. 

I class it up for my kid, too. 

What empty nester doesn’t? 

As soon as she moved out, I segued into oatmeal for dinner. 

And you know what? 

I love it. 

Anyway, I’m a vegetarian and on the fence about eating fish, but this little fish had given its life, so I decided to cook it. I made some leftover rice and steamed some broccoli, then served myself a meal. I was so proud that I took a picture and texted it to Francesca. 

She texted back, Yum! 

I ate some broccoli, which was over-cooked, and rice, which was under-cooked, then I finally had some fish, which had a fair number of bones. 

And one lodged in my throat. 

I wasn’t choking, but I couldn’t get it to go down. 

I drank water, but the bone didn’t move. So I tried to push it down with a toothbrush, then a butter knife. 

Well, people swallow swords, don’t they? 

Anyway, neither worked. 

So, I looked online under “fish bone stuck in throat” and found home remedies like “drink olive oil” or “soak bread in water, then eat it” or “have peanut butter.” 

 I did all those things, but the fishbone still didn’t move. 

So, I drove myself to the hospital, remembering the times I’d been in the emergency room before. One time for falling off my bike and breaking my arm, another time when a moth flew in my ear, and a third time when I drank a water bottle that contained a dead mouse. 

Don’t ask. 

I didn’t see the mouse in the bottle because I was driving at the time and I had left the bottle uncapped in the car. 

Plus, it was Christmas Eve. 

I try to arrange my drama at dramatic times. 

Things happen to me. 

Exciting things. 

Fun things. 

Things that you can write about on a Sunday. 

I’m not accident-prone, but I am incident-prone. 

That’s the bright side. 

Long story short, I got to the hospital, told them the story, and the physician’s assistant looked down my throat with a tongue depressor, which evidently works better than a butter knife. 

Suddenly I felt the bone move, and I swallowed it! 

Yay! 

They took an x-ray anyway and the doctor checked me out and the nurses were wonderful as usual, then they gave me some goop to swallow and numb my throat. 

So, I went home, with a vow. 

No more fish. 

But plenty of oatmeal.

Copyright Lisa Scottoline 2023 

Column Classic: Recipe for Disaster

By Lisa Scottoline

Turns out you’re never too old to call your mother about a recipe. 

And regret it. 

We begin when I decide to cook a nice meal for Daughter Francesca, because we’re about to start book tour, where we’ll eat MacDonald’s French fries for dinner and pretend that it’s a hardship. 

We eat French fries for dinner every book tour, and it’s worth writing an entire book for an excuse to eat French fries. 

But if I eat French fries without being on book tour, I start signing things. 

Occupational hazard. 

To stay on point, I decide to make eggplant parm, which I haven’t made in years. Mother Mary, as you can guess, is the Queen of Eggplant Parm, and she has the best recipe ever.  When was in my twenties, I used to call her about her recipes because I’d never made the dish.  But now, in my fifties, I have to call her because I can’t remember if I made the dish, or where my keys are, or what year it is. 

I actually forgot that, yesterday. 

At least I think it was yesterday. 

Back then, in my twenties, my big question was whether you had to preheat the oven. 

Mother Mary always said yes. 

So I did, but now I learned that the answer is no. 

Preheating the oven is as big a lie as the check is in the mail. 

Believe me.  Take risks.  Don’t preheat. 

Anyway, I couldn’t remember the order of business for breading the eggplant slices, whether it was egg, flour, and bread crumbs, or flour, egg, then bread crumbs.  I know it seems obvious, but when I breaded a slice in the logical order – egg, flour, bread crumbs – the eggplant’s surface cratered like bad skin. 

So I called Mother Mary for the recipe, but before I could ask her my question, she asked me hers:  “Did you preheat the oven?” 

I paused.  “No.” 

“You have to.” 

“I will,” I lie. 

“Don’t lie.  Do it now.” 

“Ma, I haven’t even made the eggplant yet.  If I preheat the oven from now, I’ll use up enough energy to bake Earth.  So tell me, what’s the order?” 

“Wait.  The oven has to be 350 degrees.  No more, no less.” 

“Got it.  Now, Ma−”

“Also you have to peel the skin off, did you do that?” 

“No.  I read that it has vitamins.”  Also I’m too lazy. 

“Wrong!  Peel it!” 

“Okay, I will,” I lie again.  “Now, Ma –”

“Did you leave the eggplant slices out overnight, to let the water leak out?” 

I fall silent, trying to decide whether to lie a third time. 

“You have to do it the night before.  You put salt on the slices, lay them flat between two plates, and put your iron on top of the plate, to weigh it down.” 

I’m still trying to decide how to respond.  I remember growing up, I used to wonder about the eggplant slices between two plates, sitting on the counter all night.  By the next morning, about half a teaspoon of eggplant water had dripped into the sink. 

Like it matters. 

So, of course I didn’t take anything out the night before.  I never make a recipe that requires taking anything out the night before.  I never think that far behind. 

Also, I don’t own an iron. 

Other than that, I followed her recipe exactly. 

Mother Mary asks, “Well, did you drain them last night?” 

“Yes,” I lie.  Third time’s a charm. 

“You didn’t, I can tell,” Mother Mary says firmly.  “Salt the slices, drain them, and make the parm tomorrow night.” 

“Ma, tomorrow night I’ll be at a book signing.”  By the way, I could remind her that the book in question, Meet Me At Emotional Baggage Claim, is almost entirely stories like this one, about her, but I’m sensing the irony might be lost. 

Mother Mary raises her voice, agitated.  “Then make the parm the next night.” 

“Ma, I have to make it tonight.  So what’s the order –”

“YOU CAN’T MAKE THE PARM IF YOU DIDN’T DRAIN THE EGGPLANT!” 

So, you know where this is going.  Shouting and fighting, ending in false promises, heavy guilt, and mediocre eggplant parm. 

In other words, dinner, Scottoline-style!

© Lisa Scottoline 

People People

by Lisa Scottoline

I love people.

I’m what people used to call a people person.

As in, I hug you whether you want me to or not.

And lately, everybody wants to be my friend.

Normally this would make me happy, but not this way.

Let me explain.

Like everybody, I’m on various apps for various reasons. For example, I have a Peloton and when the weather’s too crummy to go outside, I hop on my Peloton bike and pedal away, listening to a twenty-year-old instructor yell “put on your crown, girl!”

Which I find surprisingly encouraging.

And the Peloton screen has so-called leaderboard that has a list of people in order of who’s working out the best.

I’m usually number 2038487392033.

I’m not exercising to compete.

I’m exercising to stay alive.

The only person I want to beat is the Grim Reaper.

Sometimes, somebody will give me a virtual high five, so I give a virtual high five back.

Peloton wants me to add this person as a friend but I don’t.

Because I don’t want to compete with a friend.

That would make me their enemy.

Duolingo is the same way.

Duolingo is an app I’m on to learn Italian, since I’m about to start a novel set in Tuscany, so I’m going there soon for research.

Nice work if you can get it.

And you can get it if you try.

I mean, if I can, anybody can.

Anyway, I’m learning Italian before the trip because it would be nice to be able to ask for the bathroom in Italian.

That’s all a middle-aged woman needs to know.

I don’t care about the train station anymore.

There’s only one room I’m interested in.

Il bagno.

I got on the Duolingo app because Daughter Francesca told me about it and she really loves it. She already speaks Italian and French, but got on Duolingo to learn Spanish, so right there, you know that mother and daughter are different.

If I knew Italian and French, I’d say, enough already.

I don’t need that many words.

I’m good with spaghetti, couch, and book.

Okay, dog, cat, and pony.

Plus bathroom.

Francesca added me as her friend on Duolingo, so I added her back as my friend, only because I actually gave birth to her.

They don’t have a section for that, but they should.

They could call it the C section.

I didn’t want to compete with her, because I love her.

Also, I knew I’d lose.

I raised her to be diligent and hardworking.

Unfortunately, she is.

Francesca’s on Duolingo practicing Spanish every single day. In fact, she’s currently on a 113-day streak.

My streak lasted 2 days.

It ended when I found out where the bathroom was.

But since I added Francesca as a friend, she can send me a virtual “nudge” to get back on the app.

Which I “ignore.”

I used to check on whether she was doing her homework.

Now she’s checking on whether I’m doing mine.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I’m getting email from Duolingo: “Hi Lisa! Keep your two-day Italian streak going!”

I didn’t answer, so they sent another email:

“Hi Lisa! Duo missed you yesterday!”

It took me a minute to realize who Duo was, then I realized it was the corporate owl.

He’s never going to be my friend.

I don’t give a virtual hoot.

Copyright 2023 Lisa Scottoline

Column Classic: Bizarro Birthdays

By Lisa Scottoline

I just got off the phone with Mother Mary, who’s lost her mind. Or maybe it’s Scottoline birthday madness.

Let me explain.

She told me a story that happened to her that day, when she was going outside to do the laundry.

Yes, you read that right.

She lives in Miami with brother Frank and she goes outside to do the laundry because they keep their washer and dryer in the backyard.

This makes no sense to me, but she swears that it’s common in Florida to keep major appliances in the backyard, like shrubs with twenty-year warranties.

Still, it’s hard for me to believe. I suspect that my mother and brother are redneck Italians.

But never mind, that’s not the point of the story.

So Mother Mary is going outside to put in a load of laundry and she sees one of her neighbors, a nice young woman, walking her two-year-old son by the hand. My mother stops to say hello, and the little boy looks up at her with big blue eyes and says:

“I love you, Mary.”

So of course my mother melts, because she loves kids, and she even gets choked up telling me on the phone. The whole story is sounding really sweet until she gets to the next part, which is when she asks the mother of the toddler when is his birthday, and the woman answers:

November 23.

Okay, means nothing to you, but that’s brother Frank’s birthday.

And on the phone, my mother tells me: “I looked at that little boy, and I thought he was like Frank. Like he has your brother’s soul.”

I thought I heard her wrong. “Pardon?”

“When he said he loved me, I looked into his eyes and I could see his soul, and it was Frank’s soul.”

“You mean they’re alike?”

“No, I mean they’re the same.”

I tried to deal. “You’re kidding, right?”

“No. I’m telling you, he has the same exact blue eyes as Frank and he was born on the same day. He has Frank’s soul.”

“Ma, Frank still has his soul. He’s not dead yet.”

“I know that,” she said, irritably. “They share the same soul.”

“Ma, that’s crazy.”

“Sorry, but I know, I can tell. Remember the earthquake?”

This shuts me up, temporarily. It’s matter of public record that Mother Mary was the only person in Miami to feel an earthquake that took place in Tampa, and the South Florida newspapers even dubbed her Earthquake Mary. Ever since then, she thinks she’s Al Roker, but supernatural.

She said, “It’s the same soul. Absolutely.”

“Ma, just because they have the same birthday doesn’t mean they have the same soul.”

“Hmph. What do you know, about birthdays?”

She was referring to something I’ll never live down, which happened to me over twenty years ago, when daughter Francesca was three years old. I had taken her in a stroller into an optician’s shop in town, and a man walked through the door, pointed directly at Francesca, and said: “Her birthday is February 6.”

I was astounded. “How do you know?”

“I just do.”

I went home that day and called my mother. “Ma, some guy just guessed that Francesca’s birthday is February 6! Isn’t that amazing?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“Because her birthday is February 7.”

I blinked. “It is?”

“Yes, dummy.”

Look, I have no idea how it happened, but for the first three years of Francesca’s life, I celebrated her birthday on the wrong day.

Sue me.

Maybe it’s because I was in labor for 349,484 hours, so the exact day she was born seemed like a technicality. And since then, it was just she and I celebrating a day earlier, with nobody around to know better.

So now I can never say anything about birthdays, ever.

But at least I know where everybody’s soul should be.

And their washer-dryers, too.

Copyright Lisa Scottoline

Column Classic: Love and Worry

By Lisa Scottoline

I have a scientific theory that the bonds that tie mothers and daughters are love and worry, like the two strands in the double helix of some very twisty DNA.

In other words, if I love you, I worry about you. And vice versa.

Let me explain.

The moment Daughter Francesca was born, I started to love and worry about her. And my worry, like my love, had no bounds. I worried if she was sleeping too much. I worried if she was sleeping too little. Same with crying, nursing, and pooping. If I was breathing, I was loving, and worrying. And my biggest worry, of course, was whether she was breathing. I’m not the only mother who has watched her baby sleeping to see if her chest goes up and down.

I still do that.

My theory also applies to grandmothers. Because they’re mothers, too. Just grander.

Mother Mary worried about Francesca, and all of our conversations back then were consumed with my worries and hers, and together we aimed our laser beams of worry on this hapless infant, which is undoubtedly why she turned out so great.

Or guilty.

But that’s not the point, herein.

The point is that Francesca knows we worried about her. Uh, I mean, we loved her.

Likewise, I know, in turn, that Mother Mary worries about me. She worries that I work too hard. She worries when I fly. She worries when I drive. She worries when I’m not at home, and even more when I am at home. For example, she worries that I could put too much food on my fork and choke.

Let me suggest that this last worry isn’t so dumb. You’ve never seen me eat.

I used to feel guilty that she worried about me, but now I don’t.

She should worry about me, constantly.

It proves she loves me.

I realized this when I understood how much I still worried about Francesca, even though she’s living in New York, on her own. I don’t mean to make her feel guilty, and she shouldn’t. But I can’t help it.

Motherhood has no expiration date, right?

And what just happened is that the worry has boomeranged, so that I’m starting to worry about Mother Mary.

Well, not starting.

But recently my worry, and my love, has come to the fore, because of Mother Mary’s health. In particular, her nose.

It’s blue.

No joke. The last time she came to visit, the first thing that I noticed was that her nose had a distinctly bluish tinge. I told her so, in a nice way, and she told me to shut up.

But still, I worried, big-time. Her circulation has never been good, due to a lifetime of smoking, but she finally quit at age 82, when she got throat cancer.

Better late than never.

Anyway, she beat cancer, which is remarkable enough, but she’s supposed to use oxygen at night, according to her doctor. But she won’t do it. Our conversation today on the phone went like this:

“Ma, why won’t you use your oxygen?”

“I don’t like the tube. It smells like popcorn.”

“So what? Popcorn is good. Who doesn’t like popcorn?”

“I don’t, and that’s what it smells like, so forget it.”

“But it’s doctor’s orders, Ma.”

“The doctor? What does he know?”

I don’t know where to begin. “Everything?”

But Mother Mary wouldn’t listen, even though I eventually raised my voice, which is another thing that mothers/daughters do to prove our love.

If I’m yelling at you, you know I love you.

Because I want your chest to keep going up and down, whether you’re my daughter or my mother.

Or whether I’m your daughter or your mother.

It’s all the same emotion, which is worry.

Or love!

So the next time your mother is worried about you, don’t tell her to shut up.

And don’t feel guilty either.

Try and understand. She can’t help it. It’s in her DNA.

Chalk it up to mom genes.

Copyright Lisa Scottoline