Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Woman in her Thirties is her Mother

My mother is equal parts kind, giving, and hilarious. The stories I have to tell about her are so numerous that I am considering compiling a book called My Mother Rules. Please don't steal that idea.

One of the things my mother does that absolutely kills me happens when she is in the greeting card aisle in a drugstore. She will agonize over the perfect card for the occasion, read the inscription over and over again, and choose one that absolutely drips with sweet mixed metaphors about love and clouds and puppies.

'This one is perfect!' she will cry out, holding her card up like an Olympic trophy. To be honest, it usually is.

Here comes the hilarious part: instead of reaching behind the stack of cards for the corresponding envelope to match, she will browse every envelope in the entire aisle with the same feverish intensity she used for choosing the greeting card itself. She is simply looking for the prettiest envelope for the card she's just found. The problem often is that the beautiful fuchsia 4x9 envelope she ultimately chooses is far too large for the dainty yellow 3x6 card she's already chosen.

'Oh, it doesn't matter,' she'll say, clutching her mismatched card and envelope and heading for the cashier. I can't tell you how many beautiful greeting cards I've received from my mother over the years that swim inside equally pretty, but too-large envelopes.

Today I was in the greeting card aisle looking for a card for a good friend. This friend is irreplaceable to me--the Bert to my Ernie. I, like my mother, spent ten minutes finding the most perfect one, and when I did I smiled and clutched it to my chest triumphantly. I reached behind it for the corresponding envelope and found the one provided was a brown/khaki color that would look great on a couch but not so great with the gift I'm getting her.

This won't do, I thought to myself, and without even thinking about it I was rummaging through the other envelopes in the aisle for the prettiest one. In the end, I found a pink one that fit. But the irony was not lost on me.

I was thinking about it on my walk back to my apartment, the years of my young life I spent trying to find out who I am. I, like so many young women, wanted to identify myself as anyone but the woman who gave me life. I didn't appreciate my mother for her giving spirit, her unconditional kindness, and yes, her hilarious quirks. Now that I'm older I realize that she and I are on parallel journeys-- she's just just a few years ahead of me and a few years wiser for the wear. I am lucky to be growing into her.

A woman in her thirties becomes all that she loves about her mother. Just like Hallmark said she would.


  1. This post made me alternately laugh hysterically and then tear up. Beautifully done, as always.

    P.S. Your mother-in-law and sister-in-law also pore over the cards in a grueling selection process fit for a reality TV show. And we also shop for the envelope separately (at least, I do, and I can't imagine anywhere else I would've picked that up other than my mother).

  2. I love this one. And I love this blog. Keep up the good work. Just when I need a laugh or a "feel good" moment, I read another one.

    Liz R (penpal from RI)

  3. I hope K feels the same way about me. You are such a blessing.

  4. My mother and I will usually spend time together about every 2 weeks. Almost every time, we are wearing 1 similar item. Last week, we had on the same shoes.

  5. What a wonderful post. Perfect in time for mother's day. I am going to send this to my mom right now...

  6. Oh so funny. I heart Carmie more than ever.

    P.S. If I were going to steal that book idea it would most definitely be titled "YOUR Mom Rules"... duh ;)

  7. I will never look at a card from your mom the same ever again.

    Loved this post! And I definitely feel the same about my mom. :)