Brevity is a quality which I do not possess. (Pick yourself up on the floor, you drama queen.) Except, maybe, in one instance: trying to characterize my relationship with my Mother.
I don’t know where to start, where to stop, what to omit, what to highlight. Not sure which words would fairly show her in the light she deserves and honestly (but not too honestly) expose my role in making her the mother she is today.
She gave birth to me, it was great for about nine years, then I was ill for a few years, then it was good again, then I was a teenager, then I wedged open a direct path to the pits of hell and tried relentlessly to drag my family down into my misery, then I went to college and grew up a little but didn’t talk to my Mom a whole lot, then I married a boy and grew up a lot more and talked to Mom sporadically, became mortified about that whole pits of hell thing and started apologizing (haven’t quit), began talking to Mom more and more, then I GREWUPGREWUPGREWUP (mostly), then I became a mother and suddenly I was talking to my Mother (or texting with her) most every day. Because she knows stuff. And she’s right about a lot of things, apparently has been all along. Gulp.
And, BIGGEST SURPRISE OF ALL: we have compatible senses of humor and laugh a lot. A lot.
You never would have sold the 16-year-old me on the idea that I would one day seek out my Mother’s counsel, covet her approval, talk/text with her daily, enjoy her company.
Oh, but there’s still a piece of the 16-year-old girl that lingers. The piece that finds a good motherly eye-rolling uproariously funny.
And so it was that last weekend, as I tagged along with my parents while they looked at houses, I earned one of those eye-rolls.
All I had to do was notice a little bit of nature.
And point it out, “Hey, Mom! Look! It’s Nature!” She: EYEROLL.
And then run (yes: RUN) around to the front of the vacant house to get my phone from the car, only to find the car locked. Holler for Mom to unlock it, no luck. Run back around the house to get her keys. She: HEAD SHAKING. Bonus!
Run back to the car, get phone, run past both parents to the back of the house again, hand off keys to Mom, overhear her tell Daddy something about me ‘being silly,’ take several pictures of Nature for immediate texting to The Other Valley Girl, run (now officially more running than I’ve done all year) to car again while trying not to trip on the uneven patchwork of new lawn.
Giggle for the next 15 minutes about Nature and the text exchanges it inspires with The Other Valley Girl. Hope fervently that we don’t ever grow up too much. Know in my heart that there’s no real danger of it.
I have every reason to believe Mom just rolled her eyes again. Icing: I’m betting The Mother of The Other Valley Girl did, too.
Excuse me while I regress to what was good and fun about sixteen and indulge in another giggle fit.
Okay, I’m done.
No wait . . . .
This relationship with my Mother? Everything I never thought I would need.
Now that I’m responsible for another person, I need a place where I am the child. Now that I’m grown, I need the liberation of someone else being the adult, having the answers, knowing The Stuff That She Knows. Now that I’ve come out the other side of The Darkness That Was 1992-1995, I need the healing that is knowing my apologies for those years have been accepted, that she is proud even (she recently told me she has printed out every blog post I’ve written – I had no idea – moreover, she wants more than one copy of the hardbound version I’m having printed), of the woman I’ve become.
And now that I’ve taken to this writing, I need her influence in my head, the image of her rolling her eyes at the grasshoppers that make me giggle, the voice that asks me “are you sure” before I post something like that (which sometimes I have even answered “no” – just not today). Because that’s what will keep me from branching out from insect porn to amphibians. Or reptiles.
Everyone should be so lucky to have a mom like mine, rolling her eyes. And anyone so lucky should reward that mom with a little friendly picture of what the bugs do on a Saturday night. Which will now be in the hardbound book. Of which she wants more than one copy. She just shook her head. My job here is done.