My mother and I have literally grown up together. I was born when she was a mere 17 years old. I was a bossy, know it all kinda girl, and Mom was young and lacking in self-esteem. It wasn’t long before we were pals, confidants, and friends.
Do you remember the McDonald’s commercial a few years back where the little girl is babbling and babbling in the back seat? She’s driving her parents crazy, so they pull into the drive through and order her a chocolate shake. The last thing you hear as they pull away is, “Chocolate shake? I love chocolate shakes! SLURP!” and then blessed silence. That was me. Talk talk talk. (Not much has changed) I laughed, thinking that could have been a home movie of my parents and me. But what struck me is the thought that my parents were BIG when I was LITTLE.
It was a little disconcerting. I’d always pictured my mom as my … equal. My size. My age, I guess. I never really stopped to think that at one point, she was the adult and I was a child! I know that sounds funny, but we have always been very close, and it was strange to see us in this new light.
To this day, we are still BFFs! We live in the same small town, and I can’t imagine living anywhere far from my parents. They are a part of our daily lives and I’m thrilled that my children have them close, have a great relationship with their grandparents. My parents are everything that you imagine the perfect parents/grandparents to be.
We are so alike in many ways…we love to talk, we love to shop, we enjoy many of the same things. We have mannerisms that are very much alike. There is just one little difference. We have brains that are wired almost completely backwards from one another! It makes for some interesting conversations along the way, as I am the analyzer, deep thinker, and have a tendency to be what I call realistic. (She calls it pessimistic, but whatever.)
My mother has the rose colored glasses. She can sing and twitter about on a rainy day, she’s the life of any party – and she doesn’t drink alcohol. I’m fun…but in my own way, and not as fun as she. She sees each day as a new day.
We laugh, because she tends to forget things. Especially things that she doesn’t want to know. That’s why every day is a new day to her; she can’t remember yesterday. (she’s not amused by this assessment, but forgets it …I mean, gets over it quickly)
When she found out that she had breast cancer, she said, “But I don’t want cancer!” I said, “Give me more information.” The two were mutually exclusive. She wouldn’t ask her doctors what she didn’t want to know, and it drove me crazy. Dad and I would accompany her to appointments, because then we got a much better picture of what was going on.
She has never suffered from depression, however. Sure, she gets down like the rest of us. She has bad days, she gets angry or frustrated. But all in all, she’s usually happy at the same time, if you can believe that. I’m beginning to think that her way might be right. What bad moods she encounters she can usually correct with Christmas music and a good batch of fudge.
It took her years to understand my mental state. It took me years to even understand and be able to explain it, and then she said, “just …get happy!” I finally said, “Sure, Mom, it’s that easy. I’ve just been CHOOSING to be miserable for years.” (Sarcasm is a major part of our vocabulary) But in her mind, it’s that easy to turn her thoughts to something sunnier. I wish that I had that gift.
She’s stood by me, however, all of these years as I battled the demons that followed me. She may not have understood, but she had her sword and shield ready to battle if I told her that the dragons were looming. I cannot name a time that she wasn’t ready to plunge head first into any battlefield, even if she couldn’t see the evil that we were fighting.
I guess that’s what mothers are for.
I’ve not always been the perfect daughter, as much as I’d like to think that I have been. I was a selfish teenage girl. I was hormonal and crabby and more than a little demanding. I regret that. I didn’t turn out exactly as she had hoped that I would. I regret that.
But one regret stands out in my mind that I want to get off of my chest right now. I was five, I think, and Mom was putting me to bed. She wanted me to take off my slippers before crawling under the covers, and I had other ideas. I fought it, and she acquiesced. I triumphantly slid my slippers under the blankets. Five minutes later, I was hot and sweaty and going to have nightmares because I was so overheated. She was right. And even then, I lay in bed and felt bad that I had given her such a hard time.
Why this regret, when there are so many to choose from? I have no idea. I guess because it was my first lesson in “mother knows best”. Just like she knew so many other times when I fought against it and then had to suffer the consequences…with her by my side.
Thanks, Mom for all of those times. For not saying, “I told you so.” For not cataloging the things that I did wrong to torment me later. For never giving up on me, no matter what.
I just might turn out okay, someday. You’ll see!