Early in the morning, on the day my mother left this earth, she called me. It was not to tell me the secret of life, or ooze with gushy words over my greatness at being her daughter; it was to remind me to go to the financial aid office to make sure my paperwork for my student loan had been processed for the next semester. While she certainly remembered to end the conversation with an “I love you,” her call was a purposeful prompt for me to get things done. This wasn’t because she found me too incompetent to take care of my own shizz, because thanks to her, I’d been handling my own shizz for quite some time. Her final reminder was an example of who she was; a woman who endlessly worried about her children. I am SO my mother’s daughter.
On a daily basis you can hear me say such phrases as: “Did you eat lunch; what did you have?” “You have that paper due on the 11th; are you making note cards?” “Be careful at that blind turn on your way to school!” Do I think my daughters wouldn’t eat lunch, turn assignments in on time, or crash their cars without my input? Certainly not! I know, from my own experience, that after my mother’s death, I turned in papers in a timely manner, unplugged the coffee maker before leaving the house, and that I always remembered to not buy cheap bras, “because they’ll make your boobs sag!” Oh, but I missed her unnecessary input, and I still hear her voice at the crux of any decision I make.
Yes, I’m a serious nag, and during my daughter’s teen years, my advice and questioning was often met with eye rolls. Now my ceaseless guidance, in most cases, evokes a smile, because they know. They know that my badgering is one of the ways that I stay enmeshed in their lives. It’s one of the silly ways that I say “I love you,” and show that I care so deeply about them that I want even the most miniscule details of their lives to go smoothly. Even in my mother’s last hours, she was tangled up in the routines of my life. She was giving me orders that voiced her love and expectations of me. I am SO much my mother’s daughter.
Do you nag your children unnecessarily? Was, or is, your mom a nag?
No one wants to read about a life too perfect. Show me a memoire based on the life of someone whose life was always seamless, and I’ll show you a book in the bargain bin. My 47th birthday is approaching, my oldest daughter is about to start medical school in the fall and my youngest daughter, while she has some issues that I’ll expand on later, is doing well and doesn’t seem to need me as much. So this leaves me at a dangling point. Perhaps it’s a dangling point that I should have addressed years ago when everyone else seemed to figure out what they wanted be when they grew up, because I clearly still don’t have a clue as to what mark I want to leave on the world. My darling husband says that this time of my life should be an adventure, a time of discovery. My oldest daughter says I should get my ass up off of the couch and do the ancient “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” DVD that has been collecting dust on the shelf of my entertainment center for several years now. My youngest daughter doesn’t say much to me about changing. Although she’s always sweet and encouraging, I’m curious if there is a part of her that wonders if she holds some responsibility for where I’m at right now. I hope not.
Literally, where I am at right now is in the parking lot of McDonald’s, drinking a too strong coffee with my laptop at an odd angle on my knee, thankful for the peace and quiet that my daughter’s car is offering me. Concentration is not my strong point, and any chance that I have to write without interruption is a gift. Because I’m not quite sure what I want to do with my life, I fantasize a lot about who I might be when I’m alone. My fingers are flying as people pass by my car on foot. My hair is perfectly styled in its spikey, tousled pixie cut; my makeup is neat and natural. I’m wearing a nice black sweater with a stylish black pea coat over it. From the street no one can see my jeans and black leather loafers. As I type away, I imagine passersby to think I’m a business person of some sort, someone important and busy, who is merely stopping by Micky D’s for a quick coffee in between meetings. I could also pass for a pharmaceutical rep, waiting for my appointment to bother some doctor about the benefits of Zocor or Effexor. Perhaps I’m shooting off an email to an associate. Maybe I’m sealing a million dollar deal. Who can really tell? We’re all mostly creatures of surface. So, until someone has a conversation with me, reads my stories, or lives with me, they really don’t know who I am.
This brings me to my purpose in blogging. This will be my place to tell my imperfect stories. I don’t know if anyone will read them, and that’s ok. It could be where an adventure begins, or it might just be a quiet place for me to vent, to reflect, and to reclaim the goals I didn’t make or complete years ago. Only time will tell.