Hurricane Sandy, day seven, still without power. We spent the first three nights braving it out in the cold and dark, then the second three nights at my in-laws in Brooklyn. Yesterday, we packed the car and the kids, the cat and the lizard and headed to my mom and step-father’s house.
The kids stretched out like lazy cats with all the new space. We played cards and chess and they ran in circles, up and down the stairs. They had baths in their giant whirlpool tub and we had to fish them out using chocolate marshmallows as bait. Shiny and towel fresh, we plopped them on the couch for a movie.
In the morning, we woke up and my mom had set us up with a tennis court. Disaster? What disaster? Why don’t I come here more often?
It had been quite a few years since my mom and I found ourselves in this position. Back when I was young, we used to randomly play, but I was always so incessantly aggravated by her competitiveness, that I could never play well. Every point she’d get, she’d call out the score, which unnerved my every nerve. Plus, she was hot and sexy and I always had a few pounds to lose, which made watching her bounce across the court in her little short shorts extra annoying.
Back then, I was so wrapped up in killing her that I tried to kill every point, and ultimately killed my game. We were two opposing forces posturing for power. I was 20 years younger, but she had, and still has, a fortitude and vitality that you simply don’t find in average people. She’s a spit fire. A fire cracker. A hundred pounds of boogie-oogie-oogie. You’d think she was made of Red Bull instead of whipped cream, sun flower seeds and garden burgers. In an average day she might play tennis, go to the gym, take a long walk and dance the night away. Did I mention, she runs her own business as well?
The only time I see her sleep is when she comes to babysit and by some unknown circumstance actually sits down. One minute, she’ll be crawling the floors with the kids on her back, running up and down stairs to get them snacks, begging them to dance and play with her; but when they’ve finally tired of her and turned to their iTouches or SpongeBob, she might discover the couch under her taut behind. Almost immediately, she nods out.
So here we are again, across the court from each other, a mother and a daughter preparing to face off. It should be no contest, she’s a league winning player, while I’m scrappy, inconsistent and haven’t played in years, but… I’m younger and faster. She hates that. It makes me smile with affection. My mother is like no other.
I suggest just volleying back and forth for practice and exercise, but my mom just can’t. She needs to keep score. So we play. I know her game – she’s very consistent and is great at returning shots, but doesn’t have real power. I have always been a reasonably strong player; my inconsistency and emotions, being my greatest obstacle.
I don’t know if it’s because I’m older, or because our relationship is wonderful and no longer filled with angst, but I’m calm and controlled. I play easily, not great, but with few mistakes, and soon am winning five games to love.
I see the panic and frustration across the court. She’s stomping a bit and Oy Veying here and there. If there were a can, she’d kick it. She can’t help herself. Losing is not something she does with grace. But she sure is cute.
We get down to the final point and I’m torn. Knowing her battle, a big part of me wanted her to win. But I wanted it too. I no longer take her win-at-all-costs personality personally. I’m secretly cheering her on. I think about throwing the game. Just one game, so she could have a little something to hold on to.
I toss the ball, ace out that last point and smile happily. Turns out, I’m just like my mom. Lucky me.
Wow. I think I am a little like your mother! And Like you! Oy! I love this post and the pictures are priceless. This is how I like it: lovely, conflicted, complex and real. Yay!
ha!! well then, let’s play doubles. thank you!! 🙂
The two of you look like a pair of peas in a pod…!
Fantastic! An ode to your mom-beautiful and truthful!
Lucky you, alright! You’re the perfect mix – compassionate and fierce. I love, love, love the ending of this post. I would have been so tempted to throw that last game to make my mom feel better or would have felt guilty about winning. I love that you took the match and enjoyed every last bit of the victory! Great job on the loving portrayal of your mom and the details of your relationship with her. Way to go!
thank you.. i struggle with it for about a minute, but my ‘mom’ in me, said, no way, kick her cute ass! 😉
know you guys pretty well, and you both rock
Your Mom sounds so awesome! Glad you won though – seems like it was your turn!
she is!! and it was.. i think about how she feels though, it’s not her time, but mine… bittersweet for sure. but someday, hopefully, i’ll be in her shoes…
Why didn’t you go to your mom’s first? Is it kind of a drive?
so funny, i was just thinking about how i hadn’t seen you around for awhile. 🙂
anyway, my mom had lost power as well and then she got it back so we took our 1/2 tank and hit the road. my inlaws are in a small apartment and we were there with my sisinlaw and her family too. it was waay tight. so much better at hotel mommy. 🙂
Love this! Sorry you don’t have power, but glad you got a chance to be with family and to bond with your mom and see how you’ve grown. A match can stand for so much!
Love your description of this dynamic. Your lucky there’s so much affection and love despite your very different personalities. Relationships between mothers and daughters are often difficult (the one thing I’m thankful for about having all boys!), but I just love how you’ve matured to find the beauty and humor in your differences. Really well done!!
I love this! You and your mother are just gorgeous — and awesome! And I’m glad you aced her…
thank you!! she wants a re-match!!
This is such a great post. I come from a family of three daughters, so I am intimately familiar with the mother//daughter relationship dynamics. It is, without a doubt, the most fraught and complex of family relationships, but also the most beautiful and fulfilling.
i’m almost thankful i have 3 boys…;) but i am a bit sad that i’ll never have a complicated relationship like with my mom..
It drives my mom nuts when I win (at Boggle, every time), but I don’t hold back either. I figure it’s good for her character to lose sometimes. Haha!
You two are gorgeous. I love the pics. I’m glad you won but glad you thought about throwing her a bone too. You’ve got some good genes there. Loved the complexity of this story/game.
Aaaaw too sweet *hugs for you and your mom* I got the warm and fuzzies reading this. 🙂
Great post. Endearing and funny. I like that added “but she sure is cute” line. You’re both cute!
thank you! i’m just trying to be a chip off the old block… although she wouldn’t like me calling her an old block. 😉
You’re mom sounds great! What a wonderful relationship you have.
I want to hang out with you and your mom. You two rock!
I love that you had all this fun family bonding time in spite of the power loss. Suck it, Sandy! These girls are fighters. And they’re both cute to boot.
oh i wish i would have used suck it sandy as a title for one of my sandy posts! love it. thank you!! especially for calling us cute. 😉
Your mom sounds like a dynamo. It’s great when you reach that point with your parents where you can appreciate them and be competitive without being competitive.
yes, and still beat them at tennis. 😉
What a lovely post. The phrase “100 pounds of boogie-oogie-oogie” is going to keep a smile on my face all day.
she really really is!
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