Mom Salad Mom Sandwich
When I was young, I only liked my mother. She wasn’t loud and scary like most adults trying to win my affection. She didn’t have to win it, though, because she already had it. In my first years of life I was just a little extension clipped into her hair until I was four or so. A baby barette, if you will. My memories don’t go far back enough for me to tell you why I was so close to her as a child, or why I was obsessed with her hair (and still am. The way it went white is simply spectacular).
I peeled off and became my own person , say six years old, but it just so happens that my own person is really similar to her own person. Sometimes it seems like she taught me how to be just like her. I picked up how to say the word “always” wrong from the vestigial Massachusetts words she talks with, like “all-whiz”, and we have the same Marge Simpson laugh.
She taught me how to read books and play violin, first with a ruler and a cardboard box, and now with Cajun bowing patterns. We both like Haruki Murakami and thrift stores. She wasn’t disappointed when I told her I wanted to wear a duct tape dress to prom. “Let’s do it”, she said, and soon we made this goofy tin-man looking thing. I went stag, but at least I had that awesome dress that I made together with someone who understood why I didn’t want to spend 200$ or more on a prom gown–I’m too hateful for that kind of thing.
Recently, she gave me a hat that she didn’t like to wear because my stepfather said, “All you have to do is add the viking horns!” when she wore it. Sometimes she’ll buy things and then not want to wear them because she thinks she is too old to do silly things. I’m happy to do it for her if she feels bad. It’s the only hat I’ve ever looked good in! It’s my new favorite hat. She can have it back if she wants it. It’s too nice for me to hoard away. I wear it with pride even as I write this. It’s even got fake fur on it. What more can I ask for? I feel like a little Mongol when I wear this.
The hat is just one example of things she’s suggested I take or buy or wear that I really like. One Christmas we decided I’d wear this …DRESS. The dress is what happens when you cross Cruella DeVille and Jafar and mix it with a little Grandma. Was I embarrassed? Yes. But that’s not the point. The point was to try something new because I could, and because there was a flattering aspect to it.
That’s why I like my hat and my Jafar dress and my tea set an whatever else I’ve gotten from the thrift store with her. Our two brains together make a great idea team.
I don’t consider myself a direct successor of her legacy. My handwriting is messy, and I couldn’t do “brain surgery on the head of a pin”, as my grandmother used to say about Mom and her brother. The truth is that I don’t directly resemble either of my parents, even with all my similarities to my mother. But I have a lot of things to thank her for and she is still my teacher even now.