I absolutely love my mother.
I love sitting in her dollhouse of a living room, and visiting nonstop for hours.
We talk about everything from my proud mom moments to the cosmos flowers planted in her front yard. She asks my opinion of her freshly painted blue wicker chairs on the porch. I tell her they are homey and adorable
“You have to see my backyard. All this Utah rain has made it absolutely gorgeous,” she says.
We walk out to her patio and admire her sprawling green grass, ferns, and pots of purple and red petunias, and the unbelievably lush, beautiful mountain that towers over the back of her house.
The record rains have made the mountains so dense with vibrant greens that I actually get distracted while driving in Utah because I can’t quit glancing their way.
I invited Mom to go shopping with me to buy dorm essentials for Annie’s new college home. I warned her that it could be a long day because I had a long list of items to buy
“I’ll go as long as I can stand it, and when I’ve had enough I’ll tell you, and you can bring me home,” she said.
That one statement reflects our understanding.
What it means is: You wear me out. You pack too much into every minute of your life, and that is not how I roll.
It’s taken me a lifetime, but I finally get it
We run at different speeds. I go full throttle.
When I was a teenager, she told her friends we didn’t get along.
“Oh, that’s because you’re so much alike,” they said.
“That’s a lie,” she snapped in her brutally blunt way. “We don’t have one thing in common.”
For as long as I can remember, she called me “the go-go-do-do-girl.”
“You can’t sit still for five minutes,” she repeatedly told me.
She was right.
Why would anybody want to sit still for five minutes? I wondered. It sounded like an eternity of punishment and boredom.
“You wear me to a frazzle,” she said on an hourly basis. “You’re going to drive me to the state mental with all your going and doing.”
“If I had to sit still all the time, I’d qualify for a room at the state mental,” I told her.
She said I was a difficult child to parent because she couldn’t keep up with me.
We’re just wired differently.
I was born with a fast idle that makes me want to go at life. Her idle is slow and steady and she’s content to let life come to her
My mom lives on the opposite end of the “go-go-do-do” spectrum. Instead of idling too fast, she has a lovely musicality to her life, like she has a reliable, steady metronome implanted in her soul. I envy the natural rhythm that guides her through her days.
I want that kind of deeply imbedded metronome, something to give a calmer, saner rhythm to my days.
I make lists to keep me organized. The only problem is that I keep lists in about four different notebooks. Still, I couldn’t live without them. They give me structure, focus, and a feeling of accomplishment when I check items off the lists.
The only list I’ve ever seen my mother make is the one she writes before going to the grocery store. Yet at the end of the day, she has as much or more to show for her time than I do. She steadily progresses from one thing to the next like a stream gently rolling over small stones, as it rolls down its natural slope.
How does a raucous, rolling river type of person become a serene stream kind of woman?
Since I didn’t get the metronome in my soul, I often envision my mother at the beginning of a day, and how she effortlessly moves from one thing to the next, and then calmly sits to read a book, embroidery or (gasp) even nap.
Even when I read a book I take notes, look up the authors on the Internet, and go at it like a hungry dog. While it gives me pleasure, it is not relaxing and restorative. And, did I mention that my mom only reads one book at a time? Who does that?
I am trying to retrain myself to become a calmer person, the kind of woman who is happy just listening to the chimes on her deck as she leisurely reads one book or sips on lemonade.
It sounds so lovely.
I wonder if I could carry one book out to the deck without an accompanying notebook, marker and pen.
I’m determined to try. Just for five minutes
I’m going to start planning for those five minutes now.
First, I need a piece of paper and a pen to make a list of what I’ll do for those
I think I’m off to a bad start.