The Purfict Dotter: My Confession
People often tell me that I'm a good daughter - the best daughter - an inspiring daughter. When college girls post darling pix with their moms on facebook hashtagged "besties," I imagine that they have full-time personal maids that pick up every flip flop, t-shirt and candy wrapper that is carelessly left in the living room. Srsly, do these moms and daughters never go to the mat over dirty dishes left on the counter or the mom's mysteriously missing expensive facial moisturizer? I just don't get it. During those years of my life, my mother was not my best friend and I was busy bad dottering. So, let me explain. I am not a simply wonderful daughter. I am a daughter paying public penance for my transgressions as a crummy daughter. I have gone through the Four Stages of Daughterhood, and now I am paying for lost time.
Enamored: I am My Mother's Child
I have always been a momma's girl. When I was a little girl, I thought that she was the most beautiful and elegant bundle of love on Planet Earth. She walked in clouds of Heaven Sent perfume. I spent many summer afternoons in the quiet of her closet running my little fingers down the cool, slick fabric of her taffeta dresses. Her costume jewelry shimmered in her jewelry drawer. I clipped her "ruby" and "diamond" ear bobs onto my tiny earlobes pretending that Paul McCartney was on his way to pick me up for a night out at the Esquire theater where "That Darn Cat" was premiering. Oh, how my mouth would water at the sound of ice cubes being coaxed out of ice trays frozen over with icy crystals heralding the hot supper to come - fried pork chops and gravy or big bowls of Hungarian Goulash. The table was always "fixed pretty" - as she would say - with placemats and floral napkins and, perhaps a vase of flowers from the flowerbeds. She was a princess. She was my soft place to fall. She was beautiful. And, she was mine.
Embarrassed: That is Not MY Mother
Ugh. Junior High. It was the dawning of the age of aquarius. She was my 7th grade homeroom teacher. She was not cool like the speech teacher, Mrs. Thomas, whose desk was always crowded with pimply faced students simply basking in her entertaining presence. Nope. My mom's room was across the hall. She thought that homeroom meant study hall. What 7th grader with a crush on a puberty-crazed football player would ever in a million years want to study during homeroom? "We have 30 minutes until the bell. You may either do homework, study for a test, or read your library book," she'd say. "But, Ms. Kinzbach, I don't have homework, a test or a library book," they'd say. "Then, put your head down on your desk and rest," she'd say. "Get me OUT OF HERE!" I'd scream in my brain. From my vantage point, I painfully witnessed rolling eyes and the occasional flipped "bird." I had to comply with the rules by virtue of the fact that I rode to and from school in my homeroom teacher's car. Sadly due to my own insecurities and dreadful lack of maturity, Stage 2 continued into my early 20s. Hey, y'all, when Mom, Kathy & I went on a 21-day tour of Europe, Meems was the only one in the group of about 30 on our bus who made a lunch out of the breads and cheeses served on the breakfast buffet, wrapped them in a napkin and stuck them in her purse. "Now I won't have to pay for my lunch!" she bragged. I still shudder.
Inconvenienced: I am a Mother
Before I begin this stage of bad dottering I must tell you that my mother would do ANYTHING for me. She was by my side for every surgery, childbirth (well, not BY my side literally) and young mommy "crisis" I experienced. But... Dr. Phil says that when you add "but," everything you said prior to that but is nullified. Sorry Meems, but it was so easy for me to negate all of the amazing things you did for me when you asked me to help you do ANYTHING. Alan and I lived in Dallas during our first years of marriage. Meems dubbed me as her Personal Errand Girl (unpaid position). "I tried on a dress at Foley's when I came to see you weekend before last. I thought I didn't like it, but now I do. I called Foley's to get them to hold it for me. They had already sold my size. If I give you the information the lady gave me for the dress, could you check at the North Park Foley's to see if they have my size. If they don't have it, maybe Dillards will. Can you check Dillards at Town East AND North Park?" Don't even get me started on the Shiny Mailbox Incident. I'll write a whole blog post on that lovely errand some day soon.
Blessed: I am My Mother's Mother
I think it was when Meems turned 80 that I realized that her requests to run piddly errands and to help her pick out outfits for each and every day of weeklong travels had caused me to grind my teeth down to nubs. I had a come-to-Jesus meetin' with myself. No, I'm serious. I spent hours chatting with God asking him to reframe my relationship with my mother. "It's all YOU, baby girl," He whispered. "Nuh uh," I argued, "SHE'S so needy and so picky and persistent!" "It's all YOU. It's time to give her the GRACE she deserves for raising you. Remember the sacrifices she made after she and your dad divorced?" He gently whispered. "Yeah, but..." "Remember all those nights she stayed up all night ON A SCHOOL NIGHT sewing your homecoming and Easter dresses?" "Yeah, but..." "There are no 'yeah, buts' from here on out. Just love her purely and well. And, give her GRACE." And, so I did. I must confess it was giving The Meems grace that changed my life and saved my little toothy nubs from being ground down to bloody stumps. She is mine, and I am hers for as long as God will allow.
I need a picture here of the 3 boys and me. But, my pictures are upstairs. In the closet at the very end of the hall. It's so far to the closet upstairs at the end of the hall. So very far.