I mentioned earlier that I have hired our all-time favorite babysitter to come every Wednesday afternoon this summer while she is home from college. She comes, my kids attack her, I get to go to Costco by myself, and she earns some money to take back to school. Win-win.
As providence (!) would have it, I got an email on Wednesday morning that Soma is having a sale. Hallelujah! Soma is one of my favorite stores, so between Sprouts and Costco, I stopped in for a look. After finding 14 pieces of…ummm…underclothing for bargain basement clearance prices, I wandered over to a rack and found a nice little gown as soft as a baby’s behind. Made from bamboo, it said. (How do they do that?) And it was only $15! A must-buy. And you know how I feel about my bed and comfy pajamas.
I wore it last night to sleep, and it did not disappoint. Sooooo soft. Light and airy. Comfy and cozy. When I stumbled out of bed this morning and squinted into the mirror, one thought jolted me awake.
In my younger, hipper days, I was strictly a t-shirt and boxers girl. When it was cold, I was a sweatshirt and flannel pants girl. Now I am wearing nightgowns.
I’ve had mama-on-the-brain lately because we had a huge fight two weeks ago and just spoke for the first time yesterday since the big blow-up. All is forgiven, and everything is fine now, but it was pretty ugly in the interim. She said something really thoughtless and mean, I got mad and fumed and vented for the rest of the day, then I realized being so angry was very unhealthy, so I decided to just feel sorry for her because her being so self-absorbed must make for a very lonely existence. I have given Michael permission to kick my proverbial little behind if I ever act like that.
(By the way, I can write all of this here because my mother refuses to read my blog. “I don’t read blogs,” she says. Imagine Queen Elizabeth saying, “I don’t clean toilets,” and you can get a pretty accurate picture of the tone.)
But as I stared at my frumpy little 34 year old self in my very soft comfy nightgown, I started to think about all the ways I am like my mother. I recently found a black & white picture of my mom when she was in college, and it was eerie how much I look like her. We have the same body frame – small, skinny, white women with an astronomical risk of osteoporosis – which she has and which is precisely why I choose to torture myself every Thursday morning at a strength training class. We have the same little dent in our noses, the same noses which both turn Rudolph-red when we’re cold. We both have the same little tummy pooch that oddly enough did not appear before motherhood. We were both very “good girls” – and, for the most part, still are. Risk and rebellion simply aren’t in the fibers of our beings. We are both pretty introverted and self-conscious and don’t like being the center of attention. We both are a little…um, dingy. We don’t always get it.
And we both say stupid things we wish we could take back the second it is out of our mouths.
Anyone who knows my mother (and didn’t come from her womb) would say that she is the sweetest, most selfless person alive. She has a wonderful talent of making people feel important and always focusing conversation on them. And she does. I still have a lot to learn from her. She is much better at apologizing than I am, too. (She did, by the way.) But the relationship between mothers and daughters is almost universally complicated. Entire books have been written on the subject, so I dare not try to tackle it all here. Sufficed to say that “complicated” is a pretty good descriptive.
What is even more scary is having a daughter myself whose personality is becoming more and more like my own. The things she does that irritate me the most are the same things that she comes by honestly. It’s like living with a little self-convicting reflection.
So whaddya do? It’s almost as if we are doomed to become our mothers. Can’t stop it. Gonna happen no matter what. Gonna happen no matter how much we hate it. I think – I hope – that I can recognize qualities in myself that I would not wish to repeat and work and pray for transformation. I hope I can also recognize the good things I have inherited from my mother and, in turn, pass those along to my daughter by action and example.
In the meantime, I’m going to slip into my very soft, very comfortable nightgown and thank God for complication.