My mother

“I think I’ve reached a milestone today! My parents (my mum, really) likes to get (requires, insists upon) a weekly phone call, preferably on Sunday. I called this morning, and she said “I almost called you yesterday but then I thought you were probably busy and you’d call Monday.” It’s been 30 years, give or take, but I think she gets it now”
FB post July 23, 2012

As soon as I posted this on Facebook, I imagined all my motherless FB chums saying “Lisa, you should be glad you still have parents…one day you’ll be sorry you can’t pick up the phone to call them.”  I want to make it clear: I love my parents dearly. I really do, and I am glad they are healthy enough to enjoy retirement after working hard their whole lives, and hope they live many more years.  That being said, those who know me know my mother drives me crazy. Those who know me well also know what a short drive that can be…

So, as sort of preemptive post, I’ll pre-reply…

Jamie, don’t you remember my mother using a kitchen fork to ‘fork’ her hair? Susie, do you remember her telling us not to go into the ocean when we were menstruating because we could attract sharks? Jay, do you remember my telling you with all seriousness that ‘my mother said’ pounding on your chest and doing a Tarzan yell would cause cancer? I remember it well—6th grade playground— you and Rocky Krizak howled with laughter, I mean bent over double.

So, yes, you can love someone while they simultaneously and systematically drive you crazy.  That may be the definition of family, in fact. Two weeks ago, my brother’s son got married and much of the (far flung) family gathered in Philadelphia. I must have muttered something about my mum to the Canadian crowd—her brother, his wife and sister, because my aunt said: Lisa, we love your mother dearly, but we don’t pay any attention to most of what she says!” Wise words, indeed. Because to quote another friend’s mother, Therese Nikitas  (former A&W owner and my 1st boss) “you can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your family.!”

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