If she could see me now

20 Feb

I really wish my mother could see me now…preparing to paint my basement. My mother was a definite handyperson. I have a vivid vision of her painting and wallpapering our house in Old Bridge. I can remember mixed feelings about her work in the house. I was glad that all of our rooms, laundry to dining, looked fresh and clean. But, I can also recall the stress, such as deciding which wallpaper would look best and be most economical. Then, we all experienced the agony of making sure each job was done with perfection. Fortunately, she did not ask us to help much—I think she wanted to make sure the job was done right by doing it herself.

When I bought my first apartment, she immediately made a plan to paint. We spackled, sanded and got very frustrated! We ended up hiring someone to finish, but felt very good about trying and working hard together! Again, I had such mixed feelings—acute aggravation over a challenging paint job and also gratitude that my mother would spend so much time and energy to help me. Growing up with a mother who took on almost any household task with Type A ardor did cause some stress. I am sure I never imagined doing the same sort of work in my house. In fact, I was probably ruled by the trite teenage maxim, “I’ll never do that when I’m a mother….”  I wonder if she knew that one day I would be doing just the same things she did—from mothering to painting!

If my mother was alive, I think I would be excited and proud to call her and tell her about my afternoon plan to paint. At what point do we start taking on the tasks that we bemoaned our mothers doing while we grew up? Do we forget about the adolescent stress and embarrassment we experienced while watching or even helping our moms? Can we reconcile these mixed feelings and the evolution of becoming  “my mother” before it is too late, before she is gone? Do you share these newly discovered (or admitted to)  activities or even passions with your mom, if she is still alive?

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