I am extremely blessed to have a very close relationship with my mom. She has been my best friend now for about the last 27 of my near 50 years. I arrive at that number, because she hasn’t always held that position. Before our relationship evolved, she held a much more important status…mother. She was, and is, an excellent example of the mother I strive to be. She was certainly no pushover and was always a little skeptical, justifiably I might add, of whether or not I was telling the truth. Sadly, I was horribly inept at adopting a poker face. I just learned it was never worth it; she always knew! To this date, it is probably why I hate anything to do with lying!
During my daughter’s school year, my mom and I have a little ritual. I drop my daughter off at school and then, before leaving the parking lot, I ask my phone to “Call Sandy!” After the usual niceties, we get down to business. I share what transpired in the 24 hours since we last spoke. It isn’t always that long, because I sometimes call her on my way back to school just to check in. Some days it is a conversation in which I lament; other times, I laugh with her while sharing funny stories about something that my daughter has done. Many times, they are more than familiar to us as flashbacks to MY childhood.
As a matter of fact, this morning I was sharing with her about the pleasant and ambient music that filled my ears during the car ride. This quarter at school, the much-awaited Recorder Karate has begun, and my daughter was diligently practicing the oh-so-beloved instrument trying to breeze her way through the white belt, bypassing the yellow, and getting her hands on the prized orange belt. My, my…she is such an overachiever! Now, I have a LOVE of music! The only music I can say I truly abhor is Rap (although, I’m not gonna lie…I fondly remember roller skating to Rapper’s Delight! What the heck happened ?) I can so remember my own thrill when I came of age and finally got to play the recorder! Regardless of my excitement then, I truly do not hear any musicality when it is played…pure cacophony!
When I talk with my mom about something for which I corrected Grace , she will sometimes cheer me on. If it is a safety issue, she won’t hesitate to say, “Honey, you are absolutely right! She has no business being out after dark!” Yeah Mom!!! If Grace gives me a hard time about having to practice her piano, “Honey, you can’t give up! Stay the course!” Yeah Mom!!! If it is about her eating a cupcake with orange icing and getting it all over her pink fleece coat, “Gracie, was that delicious, or what???” When she wore a brand new neon green outfit to play by the lake and ruined it after wiping a dirt-covered stick all over her pants, I said, “What were you thinking wearing that to play down by the lake???? It is ruined!!!!!! You have Georgia clay all over it!!!! Do you know how hard it is to get Georgia clay out of laundry????” ( I am estimating this was about a 3 on the Medusa scale, and Grace stood looking horrified that I had become so upset.) My mom looking like she was ready to cry for my daughter said, “Honey, she is just a little girl.” What??? “Who are you? What have you done with my mother?” At times when I have had to scold my daughter, this woman, who has an amazing likeness to my mother (she even wears the same fragrance), has been known to be in a heap,wringing her hands, ready to cry for my little naughty pants! She shows so much empathy toward my precious little rapscallion!
I have come to the conclusion that my mother has been abducted by aliens! For several years now, I have stealthfully tried to catch her when she isn’t looking, knowing that at some point I am going to catch a glimpse of green skin. For the life of me, she has been really good at keeping up the disguise. Come to think of it, I noticed the change that very first night at the hospital. My mom stayed with me in the hospital after I had Grace, and I am convinced that is precisely when it happened! It must have been when I dozed off!
She is definitely not the same woman that made sure that I didn’t eat a snack that might ruin my dinner: “Honey, she is hungry. She is so active!” or “Oh Honey, you don’t like squash? No worries, get some more mashed potatoes and gravy!” If my child sees a Barbie that she “has to have” because it is from the movie “Barbie Fairytopia: The Fifth and Final Journey (Until Next Time)”…”Sure Sweetie, Nana will get it for you!” What?????…ALIEN!!!!! My mother would have said, “Absolutely not! Keep moving!”
From what I understand, this is what happens to most mothers when they are fortunate enough to have grandchildren. “No rules at Grandma’s house!” After raising teens, I think mothers’ minds are just vulnerable enough for them to be lured to the “Mother” ship and swapped out for a look-alike. My daughter is just starting the “tween” years and I can see how, after another fifteen years or so, this mother might be ready to take a ride on the “Mother” ship and be replaced by a sweet, playful, no-rules, no-schedules grandma…or Nana.