Aug 31, 2010

My Mom Is Me

This is our mom. My mom. Sometimes it's hard to look at her pictures, because it's like looking at me.


But for some reason frizzy hair looks totally badass on her.


Like most moms of my time she was a little bit hippie,


a whole lot square,


of course a "Sadie, Sadie married lady..." (er, named Wanda)


and a mom.


Who in hindsight was a complete looker,


that could rock her some plaid.

Besides my affinity for plaid, I believe I am so like my mom it's sometimes hard to even describe her without feeling odd, or like there's a lump in my throat.

But when I actually try to think of the ways we're similar, all the big stuff comes up opposites:

Mom: Is like Mary Poppins. She can teach a toddler to read by snapping her fingers and has buckets of patience that she magically pulls out of her carpetbag of tricks. I mean, it's all. About. The kids. Not like "save the children." Oh no, her mom-now-turned-super-grandma love is reserved only for our clan, sorry, none to spare. We're just totally self-centered that way. But you can spend the night and she'll probably make you some homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Me: I know all the songs from Mary Poppins. I sing to my kids and read them stories. But I'm also pretty sure that I may have told my six year old that Ms. Poppins and the chimney sweep, Burt, have an "open relationship," meanwhile I had to train my two-year old to watch TV because he was getting to be seriously high-maintenance. So self-centered part? Check. Will I, or have I ever, made cookies from scratch? Not so much.

Mom: Is completely happy... like, all the time. She is the most content person, ever. She doesn't judge or nag or have unrealistic expectations. She's not like a creepy Stepford mom or a robot. I mean she gets pissed and annoyed, but it's not like a daily thing.

Me: I get pissed and annoyed literally every hour on the hour. What really sucks is when I get pissed and annoyed at my mom while she's perfectly content, patient, happy, and oh... you know, like teaching my kids to read and making us cookies at the same time. Kathleen is also really good at this.

Mom: A total tomboy. Who used to surf and play sports and apparently wore bikinis in the middle of the day on the couch.

Me: Unquestionably an "inside girl." Who just now is getting okay with the idea of wearing a bikini, like on the beach, but would prefer a nice TV blanket and some quality time with my DVR while I'm on the couch. Although I will say my mom has become quite the DVR hoarder as of late, she has some serious inventory cached on that sucker. Plus, our mother literally reads like five to six books a week, all while watching at least a dozen shows and one or two movies for good measure.

Mom: A working, professional person who does her job well, but then clocks out at the end of the day and never looks back.

Me: A working professional person who does her job well, clocks out at the end of the day and then wakes up in the middle of the night completely freaked out about, pick one: a deadline, a concept, a presentation, a client, an irrational fear that there is a rat in the bed and I have to run to the bathroom on my tippy-toes because it's nipping at my heels. This last one is actually a night terror that I have woken up from panting and leaning against the locked bathroom door after I've barricaded myself in... in my sleep. Um, yeah, sleepwalking runs in our family big-time... and we did not get it from my peaceful ear-plug and night-mask wearing mother. No, we got that from our crazy dad. Yeah, it apparently kept him out of Vietnam.

But there are the things that are the same. Things I've gotten from my mom like my height. My voice. My tendency to cry during any movie, or show, or commercial if given a proper bit of soundtrack and some good timing. My appetite for escapism, with a suspension of disbelief that turns on the moment I open the first page of a book, watch the lights dim in a movie theatre or hear the first few notes of my favorite show's opening credits.

My completely naive belief that everything is always going to be safe and good and that we'll all always be whole.


My tunnel-vision to all things family.


  1. It's crazy how similar you, Kathleen and your mom look. I feel that I look NOTHING like my parents. I'm still not quite sure where I got this massive jaw from.

  2. Yes, you got the bikini gene for sure. And, whatever, Ashley, jaws are hot. Much better than no jaw for sure.

  3. Tara accidentally erased my original comment. Not because I'm inappropriate or she hates me but because she's a total mom and still figuring out how the internet works. ;)

    What I said was that I'm so glad I got the wearing-a-bikini-in-the-middle-of-the-day / tomboy-on-a-surfboard gene. And the baking cookies gene (my mom and I used to bond over chocolate chip cookies, which Tara detested).

    And apparently I got the crying gene too because this post definitely made me a little misty-eyed.

  4. Also... did you know those kind of glasses are totally hipster-cool again? Fuck me and my 20/20 vision.

  5. Yes, I want those glasses SO much. But I can remember mom's next pair (because she kept each pair for like a decade). The next pair was all eighties no frame, big, octagon, with like a pinkish-bluish gradient tint along the bottom.

    Damn my 20/20, too!