Sunday, January 16, 2011

Handing Down the Nut Job Gene

I spent a lot of time making fun of my mother as I was growing up.  She gave my sister and I a lot of material.  There was the time that she lost the banana she had been eating and we later found it on top of the towels in the linen closet.  Or how she made a game of “Hide the Wig” when she was undergoing chemo treatments and hated the crappy wig they gave her, so she would place it in the most shocking places for us to find.  Imagine going about your day, pulling a cereal bowl out of the kitchen cabinet, and having a wig stare back at you from the bowl.  She used to whisper things she felt were best unsaid out loud, as though they were to unseemly.  She would say things like, “Do you need to go to the bathroom before we go girls?”.  As though the word bathroom was the equivalent to the F bomb.  She also whispered the followings words;  tampons, underwear, toilet paper and potty.  She was also always trying to seem cool, although not one thing she tried to say was actually all that cool.  She was a fan of pretending to “raise the roof” and calling other parents “rents” all the while saying, “I know you girls are calling parents ‘rents’!”.  Like we had been trying to keep this information from her and she had found us out.  In reality, my sister and I never once used that phrase.  She put together songs and dances that were seriously ridiculous and you wanted to hate them, but they made you laugh even when you were a dour teen. Yes, she was a nut job.

Unfortunately for me, I’ve found that I am now my mother in a million ways.  I can’t remember my daughters names EVER and usually call them Gladys, which is our cat’s name.  More times than I can count I have found the peanut butter put safely away in the fridge, which then tips me off that I need to check the pantry- where I of course find the jelly.  I sing all kinds of ridiculous songs to my daughters, all the while dancing and making faces like she did.  I’m one step away from taking my favorite coffee with me in a plastic bag when I have to stay somewhere other than home.  Yes, she really did that.  

I hope that I’m like her in other ways.  She kept a lot of great quotes, prayers, pictures, etc.  taped to the cupboards in the kitchen and on the fridge.  One of them said, There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings.”  Her doing so allowed me to take a risk by going away to college and starting an entirely new life, even thought it hurt her to see me go.  When we did poorly in school, but she knew we had tried our absolute best, she told us she was proud of us. This kept me from getting to fearful of failure to try.   If I got into some trouble and I was pleading with her to believe me that I had nothing to do with it, she would tell me that if someone thought I had played a part in it somehow then I must have been closer to the trouble than I should have been.  A lesson that taught me to pick my friends and environment carefully.  My mom kept our house a home.  We moved 7 times in one city while I was growing up, starting in a house and moving to smaller places until we settled into a 2 bedroom apartment towards the end.  But, she made every single house feel like the same home I’d always known.  This taught me that part of life is rolling with the punches, but you can always make your own contentment and happiness in the face of hardships.  

Tonight, I told my daughter to help clear the table.  She picked up her dishes, and I watched her start to sing a goofy song she made up as she absentmindedly walked into her bedroom holding the plates.  Then she noticed what she was doing and yelled, “I was about to put my dinner plate in my room!”.  

I hope she’s like my mom in other ways too.

6 comments:

Jennifer said...

Beautiful Amanda! My husband Chris and I were just wrapping to our dog yesterday about pooping in the snow and making yellow snow, while trying to do the old kid-n-play dance, comtemplating how we will probably be singing similar songs to our children someday while trying to potty train them. Definitely a fan of the silliness!! Jenny

Drummers said...

Great post- love the randomness and the comment about making your own happiness. So true.

Jules said...

I really like this. This makes my heart feel warm. I'm trying to figure out how to subscribe to this and be a follower, but like our mom, I have no clue how to do these things, think G.R. could make me a manual? Mom would be, IS, proud of you and the awesome sister you have. So am I.

Love,
Jackie

Jules said...

I really like this, it makes my heart feel warm. I'm trying to figure out how to subscribe to this and be a follower, but like our mom, I have no clue how to do these things, think G.R. could make me a manual? Mom would be, IS, proud of you and the awesome sister you have. So am I.

Love,
Jackie

Amanda M. said...

This is such an awesome post. I wish I knew your mom; she sounds so fabulous. My kind of peep. :)

Amanda said...

Thanks, everyone!
Jennifer- I guarantee you will be singing them to your kids! And loving it. They are the perfect audience, they think everything is hilarious. It's quite self esteem boosting.

Did you figure out how to subscribe Julia/Jackie?

Amanda- you would have loved my mom! Definitely your kind of peep.