Friday, May 10, 2013

just like your mom...

"You look just like your mom!"

I've heard this my whole life--from family, friends, and strangers--and I'll admit that when I was a teenager it grated on me every time I heard it. Mom and I butted heads a lot.

Growing up it seemed we never saw eye to eye on anything; we were just too different, despite looking alike. Moma has always said that even though I look like her, I think like Pop and am turned like Aunt Brenda (of course, both of those are compliments, right?). We were so different in so many ways, but alike in a few that made our disagreements into battles quite often. We were both emotional and neither o us knew how to let things go, which led to more blowouts than I can count. We would argue, I would stomp to my room and slam the door, she would follow me and swing it open again.

As I've gotten older, while the similarities in our looks have grown more pronounced, our differences have as well. My mom has a decorator's eye; my pictures are still just leaning against walls. Mom stayed home with all three of her kids when we were little; I've been in school for as long as my kids have been alive (and believe me, that's been what's kept us all sane!). Mom knows everybody's story; I can barely remember names. She can grow anything; I've killed a cactus. She has the patience of a saint; I... let's just say I don't!

I am finding, though, that in a few ways i'm more like her than I realized:
I can't go to someone's house for dinner and walk in empty handed.
I like watching cooking shows.
I get fierce if I feel like my kids have been wronged.
The white walls in all the houses we've rented are driving me crazy and I can't wait to get a house of our own so I can put some color on the walls.

There's a quote (attributed to Mark Twain, but not actually said by him as far as I can tell) that says, "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years." Though it's about a father, it fits here pretty well. Mom and i still butt heads from time to time, but it's strange if more than a day goes by without us talking on the phone. She's been my port in a storm more times than I can count in this craziness that is life. When no one else understands, I know she'll be there to listen and speak words of peace.

I still see our differences, the things that make me growl when i was younger whenever people told me I was just like my mother, but now I see those things for what they are--the traits that make my mom who she is.
Her hands are always busy, usually doing things for others.
She charges about half what she should at her flower shop because her customers are "good people" and she wants to help them--they are her friends and family.
Her tears come readily because her heat breaks for the hurting.
Her smile comes just as quickly because she rejoices with people as easily as she cries with them.

I've watched my mom stay up late and get up early to make sure everything gets done. I've seen her add to a Sunday dinner that was already cooked because Pop invited someone home with us from church. I've watched her lose a son and love on grandbabies. I've seen her make her fingers bleed getting someone's flowers just right.

The physical similarities will always be there, and when people tell me I look like my mom now I just smile. I can only hope that every once in a while people see a small glimpse of her in my actions, too, because those are the traits that make my mom...my mom.

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Thoughts? I would love to hear them!
~Mandy