Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Conversations With My Mother

Have not always been productive or satisfying and are usually frustrating for both of us. That being said, we do love each other and manage to live together (sometimes) quite happily. We have a lot of fun together, she is quite adventurous and loves my cooking.

My brothers think she is senile, or losing it, she's just bored. She doesn't really care about technology which is a problem in our family since two out of three kids are certified geeks. Somewhere in my early forties I moved from nerd to geek, still haven't figured out why.

Anyway, mom is quite capable of catching both the big and little picture when it suits her. CSI was the motivation she needed to learn how to operate the remote control and manipulate the stereo. For years she would suffer in boredom if I didn't want to turn the tv on, now she keeps track of CSI and NCIS and Numb3rs on her own (I think there is a little geek in there somewhere). She works on Tuesdays, so she has me tape NCIS and she has learned the vcr. Who would have known what a crush on Mark Harmon would produce? I'm pretty proud of her. It has been almost 15 years since Dad died and she is still willing to learn new thiings and make plans for the future. Plus, news alert!! She has decided to try and quit smoking. She told me on Monday. Only one cigarette in two days. Yea!!! I'll support her all I can.
Author Applies Tools of Linguistics to Mend Mother-Daughter Divide - New York Times: "Q. What kind of communication did you have with your mother?

A. Well, she died at 93. We had a lot of time for our relationship to evolve. When I was young, it was open warfare. We were very different. She was born in Russia, never graduated high school. I was intellectual, even as an adolescent, and so our communications frequently led to frustration. She'd get so angry at me.

The basic thing my mother always wanted is that I should be married. But I married my first husband at 23. We divorced when I was 29. After that, she was always trying to get me to go to Club Med to find a husband. She saw such advice as helpful; I felt hounded.

When I was 40, I met my second husband and my relationship with my mother quickly improved. The older she got, the more I realized how much mothers and daughters are like lovers. In my mother's old age, I brought her gifts and wrote her little notes telling her how much I loved her. And she just basked in that.

I kept it up because it was easy to do and because it was such a pleasure to get this positive reaction after all our conflicts.

Q. Your immigrant mother grew up in a different universe. Are some mother-daughter conflicts rooted in the fact that modern women often live different lives from their mothers?

A. The rapid pace of change in women's lives definitely ratchets up differences. But interestingly, a lot of baby boomer women I interviewed said they had better relations with their daughters than with their mothers."
I don't have kids so I can't weigh in on that point, but what I can say is that my mom is more interesting now that I am older and I'm glad that I get to have fun with her now because my teenage years sucked the big weenie.

Everyone should make the effort to get to know their parents as people, which can only be done as an adult and if you are willing to let bygones be bygones. Most parents aren't out to hurt you, they just do the best they can based on their previous experiences and learning, and as children it is our responsibility to grow into that understanding. Something about walking a mile in another's shoes.

Not like the joke where you end up miles away with their shoes either.

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