Most of us have seen enough to know the age-old rule: no matter what someone says about their own mother, you are not allowed to agree, and you are definitely not allowed to offer your own critique—at least not publically. There’s a sacred family bond with trashtalking someone dear to you. It’s a promise that what you say doesn’t mean that you’re divorcing them. It’s a promise to continue to love, despite whatever critique you may need to expel—however violently. Outsiders can’t comment, because they haven’t made the subconscious vow to love your mother no matter what. This is a fundamental law of nature.

Don’t worry mom, I’m not talking trash on you, nor is anyone else. I’m using you at as a metaphor. I hope you don’t mind.

My metaphorical momma got dissed today, and not in a “Yo Momma’s so ugly,” lighthearted way. It was more so thinly disguised vitriol, just enough condescension to get my hackles up and my teeth baring. And unfortunately I don’t have enough self-control to hide my defensiveness. I let my defensiveness take the steering wheel, and well, floor it. I was leaking hurt feelings like a punctured juicebox to someone that will never, ever, no matter how much I try, like apple juice.

I’m still trying to suss out what the major problem is here, the problem that sent me, I’ll admit it, to an empty classroom to shed a gratuitous teardrop. I think the major problem is that I understand the criticism that was (albeit tactlessly) flung at me (not by a student). I even agree with a lot of it. But for an outsider who hasn’t covenant to love me still, or listen to my point of view, to offer such blatant critique of something important to me made me feel like someone had lobbed a softball at the toothpick house I’ve been building for years. She didn’t even offer to help me pick up the pieces.

There’s no solution here, just the feeble resolution that I’ll keep my softball comments to myself, thanks.