My mother has given me a couple of books, and frequently sends me articles, written by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline. Lisa’s daughter, Francesca Serritella, writes as well and occasionally contributes to Lisa’s articles and books . The latest book she gave me, Best Friends, Occasional Enemies, was a Christmas gift that is sitting on my desk, begging to be read.
Christmas break from teaching-school & masters degree-school came and went in a hurry, with an engagement thrown in there somewhere (<3), and now it is the middle of February and I am in my typical “hunker down, focus on one thing at a time until the tasks are all complete, and get through the spring” mode that my
boyfriend, no, fiance (<3) and I experience each year. (For a number of reasons, the primary reason being that we are apparently a perfectly-matched pair of over-achieving, glutton-for-punishment types who repeatedly take on just about the absolute most amount that we can chew each school year).
My point being, I have not really had any time to read for fun since I devoured the Hunger Games Trilogy in three consecutive late-night sessions a few months ago. Lisa Scottoline’s book will be a laugh-out-loud joy fest, I am sure of it. The last one I read, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog (she was married, and divorced, twice, to “Thing One” and “Thing Two”, in her words), was a beach read, causing surrounding beach-goers and Tim to stare as I guffawed loudly about three times per minute. Because I know how hilarious this next book will be, I am eagerly awaiting a semi-break coming up in about a week which will allow me to enjoy Best Friends, Occasional Enemies. What a perfect time to read a book about mother-daughter relationships~ right in the middle of wedding planning and dress shopping with my own lovely mother.
As I looked longingly at the book this morning, dreaming of a free afternoon during which I could curl up on the couch and read, I read the forward, written by Lisa. I laughed out loud (twice) and then got to this line:
“Mother love is like no other, and that’s why we love our mothers so deeply, and also why we want to throw them out the window.”
I told you she was hilarious.
I’m not saying I ever want to throw my mother out a window. It is possible I have wanted to throw my cell phone (with mother on the other end) out a window, but I believe that is mostly due to poor phone call timing. It is just not fair to call your mother – who lives an hour & a half a way and misses you – at 3:14 PM during your drive from one side of town to the other, when you have to walk in the door to rehearsal by 3:30, with the intention of just saying “hi”. As innocent as this may seem, mother wants to share a funny work story, daughter wants to make sure mother read her five emails about dress shopping appointments that day, and both really want to say much more than “hi”. My head is not in the conversation, though, it is already moving on to the next task, and my mother is usually equally consumed at the end of the school day. Better timing, I believe, could help us avoid some impatient comments and phone-throwing impulses.
I have been thinking an awful lot about my mother lately, although I have not called her as often as I have thought of her & wanted to call this week. As I plan my wedding, I am simultaneously attempting to curb my desire to re-decorate and re-furnish every room in our small apartment (if I can’t have a new house right now, I want our current place to be new-looking). Pinterest is a big contributor to these urges. One look at someone’s pinned picture of a sunny, cozy breakfast nook and I start calculating whether we COULD afford a mortgage right now. It would be worth it, if the new home had a breakfast nook…right?
How could you not be cheery having coffe & cereal here each morning?
But in every decor/home/wedding style picture I like, I see my mother. I am really not sure when I stopped being the girl who wanted the opposite of everything I grew up around. Teenage Laura looked at fields & open spaces, mom’s shabby-chic decor & antique furniture, stand mixers & kitchen appliances and thought “for me, city living, modern everything, eat out or order in every night!” Twenty-something Laura is suddenly craving a “rustic” wedding with burlap decor accents, a home with a yard, distressed-looking furniture & toile bedding, a kitchen big enough to experiment in, and yes… a stand mixer. Every time I find an image and love it, a voice in the back of my head says “Are you sure you love that? Because your mother would REALLY love that. What is going on with you?”
Toile.. A favorite fabric/design of my Mother’s. And mine, apparently.
I can’t explain it. I can’t explain why I find myself sounding exactly like my mother when I say “damn that Martha Stewart! Why is everything she does so perfect?” as I dream of crafting and DIY home decorating. (My mother never said “damn” around me. But I know she felt exactly like I feel when I look at one of Martha’s “easy do-it-yourself” projects and half laugh/half cry with envy).
I heard a proverb saying something like “whatever daughter does, mother did”. It appears to be relatively true. I feel closer to my mother when I like things that I know she would love too. I feel like the older I get, the more I will have in common with my lovely mother~ which is a heartwarming thought.
I am also pretty sure that planning a wedding with my mother will no doubt involve some moments where we both want to throw the other out the window. I just never thought I would want my window to be adorned in a valance my mother would have on her own window. Or that I would ever care about valances at all, for that matter.