1/8/09

The Quirks You Hate To Love

With age, come quirks. And quirks are the things daughters seem to notice best. A mother-daughter relationship has its positives, like periods that start on the same day and knowing just when to give a hug, and its drawbacks. One of which is noticing the other female's quirks. No doubt, my mom counted every hair flip, eye roll and use of "like" during my teenage years. She chalked these little social quirks up to adolescnece and discovery, a phase that would soon pass. And now, it seems it is my turn to set my focus on my mom every so often and tally the goofy little ticks she has developed as of late.

Before I graduated from high school, I mastered my mother's telephone greeting. It was a halted "a-Hello?", accentuating the "llo?" in an elevated octave above her every day voice. I studied this because every so often the High School Administrative Office would call home expecting an adult to explain my prior absence. I needed to sound like that adult.

I think we all studied our parents at various points in our lives. We quietly observed their angry moments, their thoughtful concentration, their bubbling happiness. Somehow piecing together the fabric of our personalities, picking and choosing from scraps of their behavior that suited us best.

My mom flares her nostrils when she's really happy to see you, or really mad. She curls her lips when she's determined. My mom wakes up with "Bob's Big Boy" hair in the morning and falls asleep at night on the sofa, snoring like a bear. I find her to be giving, thoughtful, stubborn, secretive, wise, cooperative, intelligent, and beautiful. But she has this thing she does on the phone sometimes that has truly developed into a "Quirk".

First off, you cannot expect to reach my mother via telephone between 5:30 and 6:00 pm. As she calls it, she has "a date with Brian" (the syndicated news guy) and will not, no matter your urgency, talk to you on the phone at that time. And if you're already on the phone with her, and for some reason you mention you should go, or she needs to get off the phone, forget social mores. Forget the banter of "oh okay, anything else?" or polite chit-chat before the typical "alright, talk to you later" and " bye" and "bye". Oh no, at your mention or her thought of needing to exit, she'll just quickly feed you the "Oh-okay-honey-gotta-go-uh-huh-yeah-luv-you-buh-bye, CLICK." I never understood why there were so many consecutive words and so little listening in those last seconds before she hangs up. As if she's carrying on a lightning fast conversation and you could squeeze a word or two in between uh-huh and yeah. It's impossible, I've already tried. Her mouth is going, her ears are off and she has one finger poised on the END button.

Which brings me to the conversation I had with my mother today. It began with the innocent exchange of events in our day. I'd called her at 4:43, knowing full well my minutes were ticking before 5:00. I shared with her the realization that my husband had been home on vacation for nearly 3 weeks! She said she had hurt her knee again and had a doc appt. to see if she needed another surgery. I told her my M-I-L had graciously picked up both girls this afternoon to take them to dance class. That John and I were home alone, working on our various house projects (which in actuality, meant he was on a ladder hammering away at crown moulding and I was pulling every muscle in my crotch moving giant pavers into place in our sideyard, ugh). I wandered into the kitchen while we were conversing and my mother was mentioning that she was hoping to drag my dad out to dinner tonight or something. That's when John jumped off his ladder and suggested we run down to the beach to watch the sunset before his mom and the girls came home. So, I said to mom, "Ohpe, mom, my husband is asking for a romantic moment so I'd better run (romantic, referring to the sunset, of course). And she says, "Oh-okay-I'll let you go-don't get pregnant-yeah-uh-huh-luv-you-buh-bye" and just as I burst into silent hysterics she repeats, "Oh-okay-I'll let you go-don't get pregnant-yeah-uh-huh-luv-you-buh-bye." CLICK.
Quirks, gotta love em.

1 comment:

JO said...

I am laughing out load at "don't get pregnant"! Hysterical!