Friday, December 18, 2009

Holi-daze


I've been a very bad blogger lately. Let's blame it on the holidays and their various distractions, joyous and otherwise. For us as a family, one of the joys will be that my mother is coming for Christmas. My kids simply adore her. And I mean that they adore her in a pure and simple way I can't anymore.

So for me, one of the 'otherwises' will be that my mother will be coming for the holidays. I do really love her to pieces. But Laws-a-mercy (as my grandmother used to say) she makes me crazy as a loon. She inevitably comes out with a corker of some kind. Some of her recent winners are:
"If I hadn't married your father and had you children, I could have been a Virginia Woolf Scholar." And, on hearing that a fortune teller said I'd be famous "It will probably be because one of your children is famous."

But if she has a misguided head (and mouth) she does have a very loving heart, and for that I forgive all the rest. So I'm reading Deborah Tannen's book about the messages and metamessages of mother/daughter talk and I will try very hard to hear what she means and not what she says. And I will try very hard not to smack her upside the head. Really.

15 comments:

jason said...

Oh goodness...I'm wishing you luck.
Last time I saw my mother, she told me, looking at the lovely little girls' clothes: "too bad *I* don't have any grandchildren."

I told her to buy the pink pinafore and try to squeeze in it herself. (in my mind)

Kathleen said...

Hi Elizabeth!
I absolutely adored my mom -- and she'd say the most annoying things sometimes, usually about my hair. What was up with that?! Sending zenlike peaceful thoughts for the holidaze! As my acupuncture wizard says: "Stay open to surprise!"

a thousand shades of twilight said...

Yes, good luck with that! I hope you have a peaceful, not-too-fraught time together.

My parents are the only ones who can still bring out the monstrous teenager in me. Sometimes it's not even what they say but the way that they say it (I have to counter the urge to tell them to speak a little less slowly, and to speak with, perhaps, fewer sighs and less tremulousness - horrible aren't I?)

Oh, and I'm sure BOTH you and one or more of you children will be famous.

Willym said...

My mother's been gone now for almost 16 years but I can still see the slightly pursed lips and raised eyebrow or even worse those strange mouth movements that let me know she was biting her tongue. Sometimes I think I would have preferred the words which were probably less caustic than my imagination led me to believe.

And you can tell her you already are famous - hell people in Italy and other parts of the world know and love you.

Auguri cara!

Margaret Benbow said...

The loving heart is what counts. My mother was the kindest person I knew, and yet: she'd brightly say things like, "I really preferred those nice little poems you used to write in college," dismissing anything I'd accomplished in all the years since then. I really think it helps to think of our parents as a little bit insane where their children are concerned...they care so very much that things like tact don'
t apply.

Claire M. Johnson said...

You know, I'd like to think the reverse is true, that we say things that cause our mothers to inwardly cringe. Did I tell you about the time my mother grabbed my arm, and in a very furtive manner dragged me into the bathroom and slapped a tube of Olay wrinkle cream for those of a certain age in my hand. Naturally, this was followed up with a, "Works miracles!"

YELLOWDOG GRANNY said...

my son had the perfect line about me...about 5 years ago someone said something about George W. Bush and Thom threw up his hands and said "Oh man, don't get her started."...works for me..
just remember she labored for hours to give you life. least that's what my mother always said.

laurent said...

Hey we use to have my mother in law every Xmas that's Will's mom. She was a character, but as I say I enjoyed her visit. I don't know if Will did. Happy Holidays!!!

Elizabeth said...

Jason - I must try to remember the "in my mind" part! All too often my big mouth opens and, whoops!

Kathleen - Hair, clothes, body image in general, are all fertile ground for mother/daughter issues! My mother is a diet freak and started suggesting I go on diets with her when I was very young. Happily, I managed to grow up with a reasonably healthy relationship to food...

1000 shades - Aw shucks! And I certainly hope so!
And yes, making me feel like a sullen teenager is exactly what she can do better than anyone! Perhaps I do the same to her, though....

Willym - You draw such a clear verbal picture of her that I can see her myself! And I'm afraid she doesn't think much of my housekeeping... Quite intimidating!

Margaret - I think you're absolutely right. I know my mother absolutely adores me. In fact, she loves me so much that she can't cope with the idea that there might be anything unhappy in my life (as if a perfectly happy life is possible or even desirable!),

Claire - Oh, I know for a fact that I say and do many things that make her cringe (don't tell anyone, but sometimes I do them on purpose).

"Works miracles!" Your mother is the cutest thing on earth, in a not-to-be-trifled-with sort of way!

Granny - Yep! I think there are times when my kids (and husband, and brothers, and cousins) definitely don't want me to "get started!" And, yes, she did carry me for nine months and give birth to me. But she was drunk on martinis at the time and I slipped right out. That's right, I was born drunk!

Laurent - She sounds like a character. And tell me, does our dear Will ever purse his lips in a moue of disapproval? Just wondering......

ayem8y said...

I love my mother and wish everybody could have had her as their own. She always adopted all my friends and they have all ended up liking her more so than their real mothers.

She told me last Christmas that if I had been a little girl she would have named me Elizabeth.

I hope you and your family have a merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and a super Kwanzaa.

Doralong said...

I've said it before and I'll say it again- we are so obviously related... I really miss the old girl this time of year.

sageweb said...

wow I will wish you luck..and wishing all of your family a great holiday!!

Rebecca said...

Oh yeah, those comments and what they reveal can test the most spiritually grounded of us...I'll be having Christmas with my mom as well. After the evening martinis, things can get...interesting. Our moms do love us though, yup. Enjoy your holidays, and say hi to your mom for me...

more cowbell said...

moms and daughters ... mine can send me up a vertical wall with her rightwingery, but I know she loves me and is proud of me. At the same time I'm annoyed as hell over her latest, I can be heartbroken to think my own kids are annoyed with me. The circle game, and all that. Enjoy your mom, and keep plenty of booze around.

L said...

Oh my...seems like from the responses you're getting, you should build another blog and devote it exclusively to mother/child politics. I'm reading it now--can't put it down...I wish it were more like a fortune teller though. I'm not sure if I'm ready yet to see the signs, the cascade, and to "understand" what's going on at any level.

and i LOVE that picture! it made me laugh out loud.