I'm Turning Into My Mother

Tonight I’ll be celebrating Mother’s Day a little early. Tonight I’ll be watching my mother, at 70 years old, finally graduate from college.

Last Sunday, while sitting on my porch having my morning cup of coffee, I began reflecting on my life with my mom, and I wrote the following;

Mother's Day Photography

I am turning into my mother.

I first started noticing The Change when I stopped buying things full-price. As a child, I couldn’t understand why my mother wouldn’t just get me what I wanted rather than what was on sale. As I am also a mother now, saving where and when I can, I understand.

We now try to outdo each other with our discounts, though I doubt she’ll ever take that crown from me— last year for her birthday, knowing her love of costume jewelry, I bought her a new collection. One particular pair or earrings I found at JC Penney rang up for .06. I couldn’t wait to give it to her on her actual birthday; I immediately had to have her play a guessing game to find out just how cheap they were. While others may find this off-putting, my mother was proud at how much I saved.

I started wearing bicycle shorts around the house. Before they were cool. For comfort. Just as she did my entire childhood. I can close my eyes and see her walking around the house and yard in those shorts, carrying an iced tea with a paper towel wrapped around the glass. As a woman who has had two children and the belly to show for it, I get it, Mom, I really do.

I see The Change as I am walking through my yard. I love being outside, planting, mulching, weeding. I delight in bringing life to plants that were as good as gone (no doubt found on clearance at Lowe’s) rising again like Lazarus. I don’t know how I do it, other than just sticking it in the ground, but I do. I’m not a Master Gardener, but I am a master of, “We’ll give it a shot.” Just like her.

I see it on rainy days, when I love nothing more than to get in bed, dressed in my favorite comfy clothes, with a book, piles of magazines, and my pets surrounding me like a halo.

I took note of it recently, when at the doctor’s office I asked the receptionist if I could keep a recipe from the newspaper, and how I began to tear them from magazines, stuff them into folders, and leave them in every nook & cranny of my home.

I was left speechless the first time I asked an employee of a restaurant when the coffee was last brewed, called a newborn baby “just precious”, and when my love of trying a new recipe to cook for my family took over.

I know I’m like her in the way I’ve raised my boys in the library, and in the fines I constantly accrue, because regardless of how many calendars and personal diaries I have (again, like you know who), I can never seem to return them on time.

Or how I’m willing to drop anything and everything to just GO. To the mountains, the beach, a random no-name city… for a day or two.

My mom’s instilled in me the belief that I really can be anything, and I can do everything I want to do. Even model… at 12 years old, reaching just 5’2, and still holding onto that baby fat like it is in the spring collection. And despite never actually witnessing her read Norman Vincent Peale, my mother has consistently begged me to change my mindset and think positively… OR ELSE.

In her early 60s, I watched my mother wage a war against cancer... and win. In her late 60s I watched her become a divorcée after 48 years of marriage. In both she showed me that it’s never too late to become the person you’re meant to be, reinvent yourself, and pursue new passions and interests.

All my life I watched my mom work hard. When she worked in the admissions office at Christopher Newport University, she also took classes. I remember going to class with her— not more than 10 years old— and being completely fascinated and disgusted by the objects suspended in formaldehyde in her Biology class. Almost 30 years later, my mom is finally graduating with honors.

Most importantly, my mother has never given up. Though she didn’t have the best relationship with her own mother, and we’ve certainly struggled together, my mother has made me proud. And this Mother’s Day, I am happy with The Change.

(But if you see me shoveling ice cubes into my beer, please stop me).