Through the years I’ve heard people lament that they’ve become their mother, or their father. I’ve seen blogs with clever titles reflecting the humor or chagrin of their realization. They sometimes seem disappointed.
That is far from my thinking because I had and have great parents. Becoming my dad or mom would be a very good thing.
I see my mother once or twice a week, sometimes more. She’s now 87 and “going strong.” Yesterday at the beginning of our visit, mom and I caught up, reviewed the week’s events. She shows me her latest knitting or card making project, tells me the scoop. Mom calls Independent Living home now, and where she lives, there is hardly a dull moment. She tells me about the book she’s reading–there is always a book–and we often trade, talk about our favorites.
Then it was my turn. I’d been feeling low. One of my children left for the summer and it is always difficult, no matter their age. I looked at mom and said, “It’s just hard,” and that’s when it happened. She looked at me, and with a small smile and tears in her eyes, said simply, “I know.” Then she paused and we locked eyes.
And, right then, I realized something. My mother and I were the same, one in the same, and we shared a very specific bond. We both knew and felt the very same, unspoken thing in that one moment. She knows because I’d done it to her. My sister had done it to her. Now it’s being done to me, again, and it hurts. I’d left her, my children left me, but if she survived, so will I. It was love, and hurt, and enduring, and life, and survival in one single moment.
Then, mom abruptly stood up and said, “Oh, I have something for you” and headed for her bathroom. When she came back, she said, “Here, this is for you. I don’t really like the color.”
What happened next is still something I don’t fully understand, because those who know me know that not only do I dislike pink, I don’t paint my nails. (I’m all over having a frequent pedicure, partly because with age and a bad back, I can scarcely reach my toes and I’m not that old. Yet). Through the years I found that maintaining painted, sculpted fingernails while working in dental hygiene was difficult. Not only that, I’m a gardener, berry picker, and I work in the dirt. These are outdoor hands.
But, what did I do?
I opened that bottle of pink polish and applied a coat to my left thumbnail. And, I love it. I looked at mom, and she me, and we both smiled. She got up again and went to her bathroom, and the next thing I knew, I was leaving with all of the items below. “No, you take this. I’ve got another full bottle of remover, and a full package of the rounds,” mom said. And, “Here, I have more No Chip, you take these.” “Take them, you have fun!” she said.
That’s when I realized this is something mom really enjoys, that having nice nails and making her hands pretty makes her feel good. It’s such a simple thing. Her words have fun stayed with me last night, long after I came home.
I did just that. I began with the file. I shaped, trimmed, and prepared. I caught myself smiling because after just that much, my outdoor nails looked so much better.
Today, I painted. I found myself enjoying the entire process. I applied two coats of the pink, and one coat of the No Chip. I giggled the entire time trying to hold still and get the polish on my nails instead of my fingers. Patience was never one of my strong points.
They don’t look perfect but I did it, my very own and first manicure in many years. And, I had fun, just like mom. I love the color, the shine, and having newly shaped nails. I smiled over a job well done.
As I set down the bottle I wondered about the name they chose for this color.
You Just Wait.
I don’t think I have to. I’ve become mom.