Mother May I

I’m quick to say that my mom and I have little in common, but I ASK for her opinion about almost everything. Today is her birthday. Today, like most days, I am thankful for her. Off the top of my head, in seconds, I can think of 14 girlfriends who would give EVERYTHING they have to have another day, or week, or year, let alone years, with their moms. I do not take it for granted that I have my mother still, to talk to, or text about wordle every day, or to vent to, or to give me an “atta girl” when I do something fabulous and feel like I want a verbal pat on the back. She has never NOT been there for me when I needed her. That counts for a whole lot in my list of what matters.

My mom and I are sometimes like oil and water, meaning not easily combined, but for the most part we have enough of the same likes, dislikes, and qualities, opinions about things that matter, that we have a pretty good relationship. You know how a good vinaigrette or salad dressing is good because it takes flavors that you might not think go together and it mixes them so that they are delicious and become a brilliant combination?? Well, in many ways that is how I think of me and my mom.

My mom and my sister have so much more in common, but we have enough similarities that we are mostly okay, most of the time. Sure we have had ups and downs, of course every mother/daughter duo does, but now that I am older and she is getting old we really are able to talk about most things. We do not talk about that which divides us, so no politics and no public policy and often no current events…we have learned how much we can tolerate about each other and we work pretty hard to find our common ground…we both love our yards, flowers, a clean house, everything in its place, we both hate unmade beds, dishes left in sinks, or clutter. We are alike in enough ways that we genuinely like each other.

I used to say, when I was younger, that the only thing we had in common was that we loved the same group of people, but that has changed, a lot, over a lot of years, and we do find many things, most days, on which we are in agreement. We do deeply disagree on some HUGE things, but we have enough agreement on enough little things that we are pretty great together, like a unique vinaigrette. If you seek out things to argue about, as a mother/daughter dynamic, you will find things to argue about…if you try to find what you have in common whenever you are together or speaking, well you will find peace in your relationship. It’s too easy to focus on what annoys you or what makes you baffled, so do the hard work of finding the things that bring you closer. Moms are not around forever so you might as well make your relationship the best that you can…this is what my mom and I have done over the years, we have tried to make our relationship the good kind. You know how you might think Myer lemons won’t go with mustard, or sriacha won’t go with lime zest, or soy sauce with raspberry puree, but then when it’s all whisked wildly together it’s fantastic?? That is, at the end of the day, how I think of me and my mom, like the most unlikely salad dressing that shocks you with how delicious it is with all the components mixed together. Mother may I wish you a happy year ahead?? Mother may I tell you that I am grateful for you??

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