Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's Complicated


I love you mostess-more
-my mother's family saying

My mom and I frequently don’t agree. The one thing we probably can agree on is an adjective that best describes our relationship- complicated. Not to say she isn’t wonderful. Just about everybody that meets my mom, loves her instantly. She is so fun! Your mom cracks me up! I want to party with her!  It’s just we see things so differently. We do things so differently. We have lived in the safe distance of different states since I was 15 years old.  This winter, my mom officially became a Florida snowbird and set up camp 10 minutes from my house. That’s a a care ride- (nail bite), instead of a- (gulp) plane ride- (nervous twitch)- away.

It is taking some time to appreciate each other’s differences. I have come to recognize that her closets are always neat and orderly so I asked her to organize my kitchen as my Christmas gift. In the past, I would not have exposed myself to her white glove scrutiny. We planned what I thought would be a one day job for when my husband was out of town. It turned into a five day job with reinforcement handymen and cleaning crews brought in. Let me just say I don’t have a large kitchen and I don’t think I would qualify as a hoarder. But there was a lot of useless stuff taking up space. Five dozen wine glasses. Guilt. Three giant jars of sesame seeds. Judgement. An entire storage bin of mismatched paper plates and napkins. Blame. Grill accessories, but no grill. Regret.

The upheaval inspired me to get on my hands and knees and scrub my entire house, kids closets, sock drawers, dusty window sills and all. My husband came home after his weeklong business trip and had no idea what went on in his absence. There are no pictures, because really, who wants evidence of that? It is not possible for him to fully understand what makes my relationship with my mom so complicated any more than he can comprehend how we had an entire dumpster full of stuff removed from our house. It is a great mystery, like how they squeeze all those clowns into a tiny car at the circus, even to me- and I was there.

I have a shelf just for coffee now. An entire cabinet for my baking supplies, too. And I have a deeper appreciation for how much my mom loves me. I felt this way once many years ago.  It was a weekend of shopping to get me set up in my first post college apartment for my first job. A lot of things moved with me over the years since that first apartment. Things I no longer need.

Is there a relationship you can simplify by allowing room for the other person into your life?

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