My mom is visiting next week, and I’m super thrilled. It’s a relatively new development, but I have become a giant mama’s girl in the last few years, so when I say that “October will be full of all my favorite ladies,” I don’t have to add “…oh, and my mom,” no, she is in fact one of my very favorite ladies.
Affection aside, my mother share some significant differences (share? Is that the word for that? I don’t know what else to use). Where I revel in being weird, she just wants to be normal. Like normal people or something, I don’t know whatever. I am obnoxious and flamboyant, she is polite and quiet. I have enjoyed a healthy dose of cocktails, and she is a lifelong teetotaler. She has had the same sparkling grout for almost 20 years now, and I have never quite mastered cleaning grout much at all. She is great with money, and actually so am I . . . except she is great at saving it, whereas I am great at spending it on things like specialty jams just for cheese platters. And speaking of that, I love to entertain in my home whereas she kind of hates it.
But then other differences are kind of just not differences at all. For example, where I like to cook, she’s more of a baker. I crocheted doilies for her, and she knit me socks. She will strip an old piece of furniture, sand and reassemble it, varnish over the course of several weekends, and use it for the rest of her life. I prefer to buy older furniture that doesn’t require that kind of commitment, and then hold onto it until I find older or better old furniture to replace it.
We work in completely different industries with entirely different titles, but hold remarkably similar jobs in terms of day-to-day mechanics. She taught me how to make a pivot table and was always able to follow my convoluted tales of how I have to bring down all this data from disparate sources, paste them in a spreadsheet that is actually just a tab you hide that is a source for this other spreadsheet, which will dynamically adjust the number of rows on the report, which has a dropdown that contains each project, and when I sent it off to that VP he was like “Wow, this is great,” and I smiled goofily and said “Thanks! I am pretty proud of it.” And then she will tell me a similar story about how she completely reworked this process and now all you have to do is this easy thing, and ta-da! She just saved each manager at least ten hours a month.
So we are somewhat different and somewhat alike and I really enjoy the adult-child relationship I have with my mom. It will no doubt change, but I think our differences and similarities will not. We are accepting of the differences and are both (I hope, at least I am) very grateful for the similarities, and both of those give us continuity. It’s nice to know that I can always go back to teasing her by putting a matchbook with a picture of Barack Obama in the bathroom just because she is visiting, and she can go back to trying to convince me to just let my hair grow out because it is so pretty, and then we can laugh it off and maybe do some holiday crafts.