Where do I begin?
About a year ago as I spoke to my mother on the phone, she made an astonishing confession to me.
“Last night,” she said, “was the first time that I ever dreamt about you as an adult.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Usually, when I dream about you, you’re a kid or a teenager, but last night in my dream, you appeared and talked to me like an adult.”
This was stunning news to me.
We finally had a breakthrough.
And it only took hmmm…. well, let’s just say many decades.
However, as much as I hate to admit it, I still feel some of the younger me inside. I try very hard not to let my mother see it.
Each time I visited her, this younger self tried very hard to surface, and it took effort not to become an eleven year old again.
I say eleven because it was at about that age, that I noticed something strange happening.
It began with a hair brush.
No matter how many hair brushes my mother would buy me, I would alway choose to use hers instead.
It drove her crazy.
Her hairbrushes were always better than any of mine.
Not because they were inferior, but because they were, well…
And so it continued as I grew up.
Let’s take clothes.
I remember my Aunt Kathe’s wedding when I was five. My mother had a seamstress sew us matching dresses of taffeta green.
A few years later, when we went to see Billy Graham at the C.N. E. Exhibition Stadium, we went in matching white polka dot dresses.
At seventeen, as she and my grandmother saw me off at Washington National Airport, well… you can see for yourself in the photo above.
Now, in my mature adult years, whenever confronted with choosing an outfit for a significant event, I find myself thinking… WWMW?
What would mother wear?
And don’t think that my mother doesn’t encourage this.
Every time I visit, she calls me to her bedroom closet, where she ceremoniously takes one outfit after another from her hangers and proceeds to hand them to me without looking. Only when my arms are heavy laden does she finally stop.
Even people at work know when I have visited my mother.
“Nice t-shirt, did you’re mother give that to you?”
There are times when Mother was determined to get her way with me.
But I put up a good fight, like in the following example:
For decades, she has been unsuccessful in trying to get me to give up my red lipstick for her salmon orange.
Then one day at work, my friend Janet at work says to me…
“Nice salmon shirt!”
I cringed, as I suddenly realized that since I refused to wear Mother’s salmon lipstick, she now had me wearing salmon coloured shirts instead.
What else can I say?
When out in public together, it was not at all unusual for Mother to adjust my lipstick, ask me to tuck in my shirt, or straighten my bra.
However, in her defence, I’ll close with my husband’s statement as he met me at the airport after returning from a visit with her…
I was wearing her black crepe pants, white tank top with gold studs, and a sleek denim jacket.
“You’re mother may drive you crazy,” he told me as he took my suitcase from me…
“But she sure knows how to dress you.”