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Category Archives: Mom

Like Mother, Like Daughter

People tell me I look like my mother.

All. The. Time.

It’s actually a real compliment. My mom is a looker. Always has been. I (almost) never think about how she’s over 20 years older and instead focus on the fact that we are both small and fit with curly hair and an ever ready Colgate smile, compliments of the white strips she brings me on a regular basis.

Sometimes she also brings me a new shirt or pair of jeans that she recently purchased for herself. Since she buys nice stuff and it’s… um… free… it’s not a hard sell. So it’s not like I help matters. The only problem is when we show up at a family function in matching outfits which can be a little embarrassing, especially when one of the younger kids takes me by the hand and says, “Come here, grandma.”

But besides that momentary twist in the chest, it’s good, and we laugh about it. I mean really how lucky am I to have her genes and her jeans?!

Recently my mom, the most energetic person I know – the one with only two speeds – high octane or falling asleep while sitting up; the one who plays tennis before Zumba class and then follows it up with a body sculpting class and later hopes someone will want to join her for bike ride or a walk, and even later on, possibly go dancing – has been ever so slightly sidelined by a sore um thigh. (We don’t speak about any affliction that might indicate age or else I would have said arthritis in her hip.)

It has been extremely difficult for such an active (see: rigid) person to lessen her fitness load even slightly, so true to her generally bulldozing self, she charges on; limping through tennis games, letting an occasional ‘Ugh’ out in gym class and only allowing it to really aggravate her in the wee hours of the night when she should be sleeping.

As my step father is annoyingly fond of saying, “The apple don’t fall far from the tree” since I not only resemble my mom but, after a brief period in my younger life resenting the hell out of her, have adopted many of her healthy eating and exercise tendencies.

While I am a pretty low key exerciser, think, reading my book while peddling my elliptical, sometimes I take it up a notch like the class I tried the other day. It was kind of a circuit boot camp; you know, jump squat, sprint, push-ups, sprint, throw-up, sprint, running man, sprint, etc.

It was in the middle of the second circuit when I felt it, a twinge in my left thigh. It nagged at me for the rest of the class but I powered through, limping slightly to my car after it was over.

“Shit. Shit. Shit.”

I hated being sidelined. I hated feeling compromised. I hated feeling… old.

Later when my mother came over to babysit, I noticed we were wearing the same jeans and similar black boots. I told her she looked cute, she told me I looked cute and then we giggled like a pair of idiots. Matching idiots.  As we hobbled together toward the kitchen to share a veggie burger and sweet potato, it was with a new understanding. I realized I not only looked like her but slowly and steadily I was becoming her.

Years ago the idea of it would have horrified me. I was young and so sure of my individuality and youth. I didn’t fully realize that time mercilessly keeps moving and doesn’t stop for anyone. We all become our parents at some point.

Although it turns out my thigh injury was just a muscle pull not cough arth cough ritis cough, the real difference is negligible. For better or for worse, I am becoming my mother.

Just ask anyone.

photo 2

 

My mom is hotter than your mom

Every single time we are out together it happens. We could be walking, shopping or at a school function when inevitably someone will ask, “Are you guys sisters?”

When we reveal that she is, in fact, my mother, there is a whole lot of shocked gasps. “No way!’ They say, “You totally look like sisters.”

As you’d expect, my mom basks in the glow, while on the other hand, I want to scream – very quietly, because I don’t want to hurt my mommy’s feelings – “HELLO PEOPLE! I’m more than 20 years younger!!”

Now I realize it’s not about me looking bad at all. It’s all about her looking good. Which she does. In fact, she looks fabulous. Ridiculously fabulous.

But being a girl, uh, woman, new – okay, relatively new – to middle age is difficult enough; compile it by being the daughter of a hot mom and it’s even more challenging.

When I was younger, having a mom who was constantly playing paddle ball in her bikini, sexy dancing the night away or reminding my chunky teen-aged self, that I didn’t need the ice cream was a little hard to appreciate.

So like many rebellious daughters, I went in the opposite direction; no make-up, hair in a ponytail, baggie clothes and a few pounds to lose. It took me awhile to realize that I didn’t have to be unattractive because she was attractive. That while it can be a little annoying, her being hot was actually the best thing for me. Welcome to my middle-aged clarity, where I can see things more clearly mentally but not literally.

While I once turned up my nose to her constant exercise and irritating, rigid eating habits – steamed tofu and veggies or Cesar salad, no croutons or dressing – uh, that’s plain lettuce mom. I now model a lot of my behavior after her.

My older self sees the value in being a fit, healthy, attractive person; although maybe not to her extreme. Daughters can only allow their mothers to be 75% right, retaining the last 25% for their own self-respect, individuality and superiority. It’s a girl thing.

Her hotness makes me try a little harder. Run a little farther. I’m still eating my ice cream, but I’ll make sure to eat those veggies as well. She keeps me in check, because life’s a competition baby, and I’m out to kick her cute little ass. No, I’m kidding. Sort of. I mean, I don’t want to kick her ass, but I do want to look as hot, maybe hotter. Someday, I will. When she’s like 80.

So the other day, when my brother asked my young nephew to hand something to grandma, and he walked right over to me, I didn’t scream, even quietly, I reminded myself how lucky I am to follow in her footsteps. Hopefully, I will grow up to be just like her – beautiful on the inside as well as the out.

Yup, that's my mom!

 

 

Once upon a time

My home was broken.

But I was used to it. For years, my parents clumsily taped up the holes with transparent truces, sucked in offenses and alcoholic avoidance. Still, the anger and disappointment always leaked through, pumping like contaminated air through the vents, infiltrating every aspect of our house.

Their fights played like music in the background of my life. When the end officially came no one was surprised or sad, certainly not me.

My father moved out, but still hung around, taking me and my brother out for a movie or to his racquet club. It was only when I passed my parents’ room and took notice that there was no lump in the center of the bed; no giant bowl of salad with smelly dressing on the night side table that I realized he was gone.

I was 10 when they divorced, by the time I was 12 my mother had remarried.

It was December and the wedding was a small affair at my new step-father’s house. It came up quick, somewhat of a surprise, although my mother will jokingly remind me how if anything the whole thing was my fault, she asked me if she should marry him.

He lived in a big house and had a pool.  I was 11.

I was given the option to finish out my 6th grade year and live with my grandparents in Brooklyn or move mid-year to Long Island. My science mid-term was coming up, and it terrified me. I was averaging a 75 in the class when all my other grades were up where they should be in the 90’s. I couldn’t handle the thought of flunking a test.  In a half a second I jumped on the move, deserting my friends, my grandparents, my life, all in the name of science.

We moved into our new home unceremoniously and awkwardly. None of us knew what we were doing; certainly not my mother or new step father; certainly not my younger brother or my two new younger step-brothers. The only person who rallied with contrived enthusiasm was the live-in housekeeper who showed off the house like it was hers.

I was shuffled off to my room and left with another young girl whose name was Gia. She was the housekeeper’s daughter who had apparently come to visit months back and never left.  She was a year younger and I was a year shyer, but we still didn’t even out.

“This is my room.” She said. “You can sleep there.” She pointed to the second bed. “Don’t touch my stuff,” She commanded and huffed out.

My brother and new step brothers were also trying to find their way in this new dynamic, while my mother and step father circled each other uncertainly, and the housekeeper kept us all in a tight divided line of us against them.

I looked out the window into the backyard. The pool was covered for the winter. It looked dark and dangerous.

My home was broken.

Mother’s Day? More like Other’s Day.

Yesterday had all the makings of a typical Monday only I was more… cranky. Yes, even more than usual.

It started right from my jeans feeling tight to we are out of frozen pancakes. So, in between the lunch making, the backpack checking and the children out of bed dragging, I whipped up a batch so that my boy who doesn’t sleep and barely eats didn’t blow away on his field trip. Since, I am no longer the mom who is whipping up fresh anything on a school morning, I expected a little woo-hoo from the crowd. Instead I heard, “Do we have Mini Wheats?”

And my ‘fajita wraps’ at dinner? One child suggested, we “wrap them up and give them away.”

Smart ass.

All in all, the day was typical. There were the usual Monday chores to get through, but I did them just a little frazzled. The nice checkout girl at the supermarket had no idea what was wrong with me when I snapped after she asked me if I if I have a discount card. “Are you kidding? I live here. Yeah, I have a card.”

Doing the laundry, I was extra aggravated and instead of searching for the missing socks, I just threw them all into the garbage in frustration. It was my most satisfying moment of the day.

Right now, my son is whistling on his computer next to me and it’s driving me insane.

whistling jack

I was trying to figure out why I was extra sensitive, but then it hit me like a box of crappy chocolate. It was Mother’s Day backlash.

“How was your Mother’s Day?” was the general question all day. These were some of the laments, I mean, answers, I heard…

Woman at the gym: “Was it Mother’s Day? I spent the day doing the same crap I always do, only I had to host my entire family as well.

Woman at the school: “I’d call it more Grandmother’s Day.”

Women everywhere: “Fine.”

Not that yesterday wasn’t nice. Oh the sweet cards from the kids shoved in my face at 6:30am. Oh, the fabulous family gathering. Yeah, yeah, it was all great, but… it certainly wasn’t ‘my day’.

All hail the mother who was smart enough to get a massage, hook up with some friends, and get away from her family. That’s what I’m talking about. But what does my yesterday have to do with today? Mother’s day has come and gone and here I am, back at the sink washing the dishes, schlepping the laundry, fulfilling all the ‘mommy can you get me’s” and doing all the stuff that needs to be done. Nothing has changed. Not that I expected anything to change. I’m just as unappreciated today as I pretty much was yesterday, and now I guess I’ve got to wait another year for Hallmark to sanction some more appreciation! I mean come on! Let’s just call it what it is. Mother’s day is not about Mothers. It’s about my children. It’s about getting gifts for my mother and mother-in-law. It’s about us all hanging out together, one big mosh pit of screaming kids and laughing, drinking, arguing, eating adults! My son is still whistling!! OH MY GOD!

I think we need a secret Mother’s Day after Mother’s Day; when all the expectation and the hoopla have gone and we can relax and do a little something nice for ourselves. That’s it. I feel much better now.

Next year, I’m so in. Call me. Please.

Save me, after Mother's Day Day, save me.

Save me,  Mother’s Day after Mother’s Day, save me.

My mom is Red Hot. Your Mom ain’t Diddly Squat.

Every day, I look at my reflection and think, I remember that girl’s younger sister. Every day, I see small little changes. Laugh lines that aren’t funny. Freckles that have turned to the dark side.

Every day I look at my mom and wonder how the hey she’s aging in reverse while I’m speeding light years ahead.

Why is she rolling up her shorts, while I won’t even wear a pair?

How does she go to the gym every day, play tennis and go dancing at night, while I’m exhausted just running away from my children?

I honestly don’t know if there’s ever been a 65 year-old woman so… cute.

Even as she registered herself for Medicare, the woman behind the counter, probably 20 years her junior, gushed, “Stop it! You’re not 65 years-old! You’re just the cutest thing.”

My mother smiled coyly, and showed her license. Yeah, she’s sexy too.

Having an adorable, sexy, mom, is not an easy thing for a girl starting middle age. Okay, fine, it wasn’t easy for a girl starting high school, either.

Everywhere we go, people are always assuming we’re sisters. That would be fine, if I could at least be the hot one, but it’s no guarantee. Because while I may be younger, she’s still MaryAnn with a side of Ginger from Gilligan’s Island, and I’m, uh, the Professor? It’s just how it is.

Still, she continues to try to ‘hotten’ me up.

For as long as I can remember, she’s been unbuttoning my blouse to show off a little more, reminding me to put on lipstick and fixing my hair.

I, of course, decided to never wear lipstick, or brush my hair, and for a while took to wearing large prairie dresses. I still kind of like them. Sue me.

She brings me white strips for my teeth every three months and sexy low cut tops to wear going out.

She is no longer allowed near me with a tweezer.

Not too long ago, she took one of her pretty manicured nails and pointed at the crease between my brows. “I can have that fixed.” She said with the cutest giggle.

“Mom!” I said, a little too defensively, gnawing on an unpolished nail, “Maybe I don’t want to be fixed.”

She giggled again.  “Okay. You let me know.”

Sigh. I will.

Because even though I naturally try to resist her wily ways, her hotness is a blessing. It makes me try a little harder. Run a little farther. Without her, my teeth wouldn’t be as gleaming and my cleavage would never come out to say hi.

So today, I honor my forever young mom who’s helping me to age the best I can.

Yup, that's my mom!

From one mother to another

“So tell me something you remember about me from your childhood.” My mom asked casually. “Anything.”

Oh no. I smelled a trap. This was definite trouble. I struggled to come up with something. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but my memories of childhood are basically a dead zone. I don’t remember spending much time with her at all, and my father was a mix of random play and me stepping over his drunk body. I do remember them fighting. Hmm. I don’t think that’s what she’s looking for.

“I knew it.” She concluded from my hesitation. “I was a terrible mom.”

Crap.

Okay, so I probably could have had a better childhood, but at this point, who remembers? Oh man, the pressure. Think! Think!

“Tell me something you remember.” I countered, stalling for time.

That stopped her. “Oh, okay.” Pause. Then, a giggle. “I can’t remember anything.”

Disbelief. “You can’t remember anything from my childhood?”

More giggling. “Where was I?” she asks. Like I should know?

I don’t know if it’s funny, but we are both amused. “That’s a good question, mom.”

“You were so precocious. You just raised your cute little self.”

“Apparently.”  Well, it was the 70’s.

We giggled some more about it and then moved on to lighter subjects, like how full she was from her over-sized dish of vegetables or how cute my boys are.

It’s good that we can laugh about the past and move on. Our relationship has evolved so much since the times I don’t remember, or my brain chooses to forget. I’ve grown and she’s grown as well. Emotionally, at least. There was a time when she wouldn’t even think to ask such a question. Not because she didn’t care, but whether it was her youth, immaturity or overwhelming circumstance, she just didn’t think of it.

I still remember a couple of years ago when I was telling her about a friend of my son’s whose parents were divorcing, which coincidentally was around the age my parents divorced. She said, “Wow, that must have been really hard for you.” I was shocked. It was the first time she had directly acknowledged my feelings about that time. Okay, so it was almost 30 years later, but still, I was touched by her, albeit belated, concern.

Physically, she’s gorgeous, strong and energetic, but tiny, topping out at about 5’1, and I’m giving her that inch because I love her and I know she’s just arched her back and is standing up a little straighter reading this. I can hear her bemoaning her stature all the way from her house. “Oh, why am so short?”  65 years and she hasn’t come to grips with her height. She is eternally cute.

It has taken years to come to this point, but our relationship steadily improved around the time I got married and markedly improved after my first child was born. I honestly didn’t expect all that much given our history, but she completely surprised me. Devoted, loving, generous. She dotes on each of my boys. They are such a joy to her and she is so attentive and wonderful, that I can’t imagine that she wasn’t always this way.

Later, my phone rang again.

I answer, “Hi mom.”

“Hi, I was just wondering if you thought of anything.”

“Uh no, mom. I haven’t been thinking about it.”

“Of course. Me neither…” She switches to her favorite subjects. “Hey, did I tell you how good the boys were the other night? And Julius did the funniest thing…”

I don’t know what happened back then. I can’t remember what I did five minutes ago. What I do know is that today, right now, she is the absolute best mom possible. I wouldn’t change a bit of her.

She, of course, has a list of things she’d change. But that’s another story.

A grandmother is born

A grand mother is born

My Mom and Me… We’re a match.

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.