Sunday, May 8, 2011

Despite Being an Adult, I'm Still My Mother's Child

Kids have the most interesting conceptions about how the world works. To wit: tonight, my four-year-old niece kept retrieving books from the shelves, trying to find one that had my name in it. She had decided she wanted to read one of my old books. Anyway, once she found one, she said something about how my name was in the book because when her mom and I and our other siblings were little like her, we were Grandma's children.

"Wait," I said. "So we're not Grandma's children anymore?"

She gave me a funny look and said, "No, Katie, because you're BIG now."

I quickly found there was absolutely no way to reason her into believing that all of my siblings--including her mother--are, in fact, still Grandma's children. Even though we are big.

Perhaps in another ten years or so I'll explain to her that as I've grown bigger, my relationship with my mother has changed. But she has never stopped being my mother, and I have never stopped being her daughter.

When you are very, very little, it's very easy to expect your mother to take care of your needs. You don't really think about it. You're little; she's big; clearly, it's her job to take care of you since you can't do it all on your own. It doesn't mean you aren't thankful for everything she does, but you think she's required to do everything she does. If she didn't, where would that leave you?

But as the years pass by, I notice all of the ways my mother still takes care of us. Most people would probably say the things are little. Phone calls. Comforting talks after break-ups with boyfriends. Listening to someone who just needs to vent. Sending leftovers back with children. Quilts. Jewelry. Other creations. Scrabble games. Sharing recipes, with an added bonus of in-call support of the would-be chef. Jokes. Games. Sharing her washer and dryer. Baking bread. Planning birthday gatherings.

The list could go on. But I guess the point of all of it is this: she still does a lot for me, and I'm grateful. She's always been a wonderful mother. And if, as they say, I'll eventually wind up like her--I'm very much okay with that. Because she's one of the best people I know.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Anatomy of My Hugging Tendencies

The surest sign I have fully embraced a person as a friend: I will let that person hug me. And I won't even flinch.

You see, I'm not a hugger by nature. I never have been. And yes, I hug my mother. And my father. And usually my siblings (provided they don't smell bad--just kidding, none of my siblings have hygiene issues). And of course I'll hug my nephews and nieces, because hello!, who wouldn't want to hug the most adorable children on the planet.

But I've never been a Huggy McHuggerson...and thank heaven for that. To be labeled such would probably remind most people of diapers.

And yet, in the oddest turn of realization, I stumbled upon an interesting--not to mention true--thought about myself the other day. And by that, I mean that of course someone pointed something out. My good friend mentioned that I tend to hug (or want to hug) pretty much anything but humans.

I started to defend myself, then stopped when I recalled that I'd been telling her about how I'd hugged a book I'd found in the bookstore. It occurred to me she might have a point. So here, for your benefit, is a complete list of things that I have a) hugged or b) wished I could hug.

1. As mentioned, books.
2. Flowers (particularly the first hyacinths, lilacs, and tulips I've seen)
3. My DVD copy of The King's Speech
4. My laptop
5. Old poetry notebooks
6. Sunshine (yes, sunshine...the first truly sunny and warm day of the spring, I would've loved to be able to hug the sunshine)
7. The vacuum
8. My Harry Potter blanket
9. The most recent package of Bic pens I bought.
10. A load of laundry (because really...straight out of the dryer...who doesn't love to hug loads of laundry?!)
11. Blow dryer
12. Sweet potato chips
13. Sweet potato fries (clearly a wish...hugging the chips was easy, 'cause they were in a bag--since the fries weren't, I had to settle for imagining myself hugging them)
14. The mama-made quilt
15. My photo album
16. Caramel Apple Spice from Starbucks
17. Also from Starbucks: cheese danish
18. The most recent Josh Groban CD
19. Decorative pillows on my couch

Of all the things I hugged, the caramel apple spice was by far the trickiest. But I managed! And as an added bonus, it actually gave me a small measure of extra physical warmth to do it. Miraculously, no spillage occurred.

My conclusion is this: I'd be much more apt to hug people if I could somehow convince myself they shared a lot in common with my favorite inanimate objects.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Please Don't Quote THAT Tennyson

I've always worn my English nerdery on my sleeve: after all, anyone who speaks with me for more than forty-five seconds will begin to suspect anyway.

But at work, this sometimes causes people to shake their heads--when I start discoursing to them about what I'm reading (the pun book, so far, is intriguing and fascinating!) to when I defend fiction (really, people, you can learn things from novels...I swear it!!!) to when I start talking about the nebulous definition of a word like "classic" (after all, it seems odd to be able to label things "modern-day classics" when usually the idea is that the classics have stood the test of time--almost as though you're making a pre-emptive decision that says to a book: "YOU WILL LAST FOREVER IN A MEANINGFUL AND VERY PUBLIC FASHION").

By far though, the best chuckle I think I've solicited from someone at work is after (on more than one occasion) he had been questioned why we were doing something, and he said: "Ours is not to question why." I grant that it's possible I physically cringed, or twitched at the very least, and almost begged that he not quote that particular line...

...because in "Charge of the Light Brigade," it's promptly followed by "Ours is but to do and die." (Not "or" die, mind you. "And" die.)

Since I value my life, I'll continue to question why.