Monday, December 12, 2011

mom, jr.

i've done a lot of soul searching and self-examination in my adult years, and one of the many conclusions to which i have arrived with little to no effort is this: the apple does not, in fact, fall far from the tree.

as a kid, i always remember my mother wearing high-heeled pumps and suits and going off to work early in the morning and coming home long after dinner was done. she put in hours over the weekend. she worked on family holidays at my grandparents' house. and she talked about work (and the people at work) constantly. these things drove me batty as a child, when my one and only wish in all the world was for someone to take me to disney world and pay attention to me, for God's sake. i promised that i wouldn't ever be shackled to my job when i grew up, and i'm generally happy to say that, except for the last 12 to 18 months of my life, that's been true for me.

but more than the workaholic i knew and loved as a child, my mother was (and is, and ever shall be) someone who got things done. she took charge, she rallied troops, and people generally followed suit (often so relieved that someone was willing to take the reins). she has always been able to pack a suitcase like a champ, figure out how to jerry-rig a sagging curtain rod (with fishing line, tied to a heating vent!), iron some complicated garment with precision, sew a costume, and can help you pick some good stocks, write a killer resume, and rearrange your whole apartment in a matter of days. she is a workhorse. she is relentless. she is a chip off the old block (the old block being my grandmother, a 4'11" spitfire named sarah).

and who am i? um, pretty much someone following in many of this woman's (and the woman before her's) footsteps. i am pushy. i will follow up until action is taken. i see things through to completion. i always carry tissues in my purse in case of allergies.

but we're not entirely the same, you see. i am definitely less orderly in my life. and for years, i was embarrassed by my mother's diligence (especially when it involved her confronting someone in public - the humiliation!), but i have gotten to be not only like her in that way but even more so. during one particular incident in a video store a number of years back, i was confronting the manager about the store's horrid customer service and the fact that they were accusing me of stealing some ridiculous movie. after a particularly long string of rebuttals and announcements about the abject unrighteousness of the situation, my mother took my elbow and quietly said, 'i think you should back down now.'

i looked at her with something resembling horror. 'what?!' i said. 'do you even know whose daughter i am?'

and, dear reader, it should come as no shock to you that i pushed that man until i got back the store cred i deserved. it was only fair, really...the right thing to do! :)

in all seriousness, people love my mother. she is a guru of all things HR and has helped a lot of people in her day. but she's also the kind of person who will say a kind word to someone no one else pays attention to. she takes communion to shut-ins. she has been a huge advocate for a number of her elderly friends (sometimes right up to the very end of their lives) who needed someone to be there for them. and she has rescued (literally) family members from situations that would have destroyed them if she had not stepped in.

also, she does not back down from a challenge, even if that challenge is to have a relationship with me. and ours has taken time and patience and effort to get it to where it is now. i love that. my mom understands that things worth having are worth working for, just like any job or opportunity in life. and my mother has proven herself to be relentless in these things as well. i am more than glad to be called hers...and to call her mine.

and yes, i may be pushy as heck, but can you blame me? i'm the apple, remember? those seeds were planted early on!

sunday's prompt: How are you like your mother? And if you're a mother, how is/are your kid(s) like you? —courtesy of Jessica


Jess Banks said...

She sounds like a strong, amazing woman. Thanks so much for writing on my prompt! :)

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