I love my mother, but I can remember, when I was twelve, getting into a big fight with her because she wanted to come to my school for Parents Day, when all the kids were supposed to bring in their moms and dads. She had that particular day off, and since her working schedule kept her from making it to my football games or any other after school events, it really must have meant the world to her. Me, I didn’t give a rat’s ass. At twelve, I didn’t even like her dropping me off in front of the school in the morning; there was no way in hell I wanted her following me around all day. I’m sure I must have seemed like a rotten little shit, because I put up a horrible fight about it. I didn’t just beg her not to come, I forbid her to come. As an adult, putting myself in her shoes, I can only begin to imagine how much that must have hurt her feelings. I’m sure she thought I was ashamed of her. She was almost crying when she finally let me have my way. “If that’s what you want,” she said, “If that’s what you really want, then I’ll just visit your brother.” When the day came, sometime around lunch, I remember sitting in choir practice with the entire seventh grade — a hundred and fifty students and maybe half that many parents — singing a clumsy rendition of “Eye of the Tiger,” when the school secretary knocked at the door and asked our teacher if there was a Laughlin in the class. “Chi,” the teacher said, “Will you please stand up so your mother can come sit with you?” So I stood, singled out before the entire class, who watched my smiling mother wander into the room. Trying so hard hide my embarrassment, I forced out a smile and waved. The instant she saw me, her body language changed. Not even trying to hide her disappointment, she dismissed me with a wave of her hand and said, “I don’t want to see him. I’m looking for his brother.”