We Were Perfect That Way

When I was still pretty small, I had irritated my mom for something lousy I had done and, in her frustration, she snapped, “Don’t get me anything for Mother’s Day.”

A smarter kid might have recognized that what a mom sometimes says is not exactly what she means.

A smarter kid.

I was not that smarter kid. I took the money I was saving up for her gift, went to Woolworth’s, and bought myself a record. I can’t remember which one, but it’s entirely possible that it was this …

 

I was cold shouldered for days. I’m sure she was disappointed in me. It wouldn’t be the last time.

But, to my credit, I never missed another Mother’s Day – including this one, the ninth since she passed away.

I wish I could tell you that my mom and I were ever-warm and loving, like sisters really, and gardened together and cooked together and sewed together and did those things that moms and daughters often do.

We weren’t. We didn’t.

Mom and Me

Sure, we got along. Sometimes.

We fought a lot and rolled our eyes at each other and slammed doors in frustration and disagreed on more things than we agreed on.

But, at the end of the day, we were satisfied that she was probably the only mother, and I was probably the only daughter, who could put up with the other.

We were perfect that way.

We didn’t get along all the time, but we always said “I love you,” even on days when we weren’t sure we did. And, we always trusted the other with secrets. Like the time when I was in my teens and my mom got home and told me she had been pulled over and ticketed for speeding, not once, but twice that day. She never told my dad. I thought she was pretty badass. She liked that.

mom always had a thing for fast cars

She liked fast cars in high school, too.

Me Triking

Her kid liked a fast trike.

Mom liked the speed, flash, and beauty of basketball and hated when Michael Jordan brought baggy shorts to the NBA.

With the exception of a brief fling with the ’69 Miracle Mets she never cared about baseball. It was tedious to her. (She probably thought I loved baseball simply to annoy her.)

If we had ever gone to a baseball game together, I’m 100 percent certain she would have left in the 6th inning and gone to sit, have a smoke, and wait in the car.

(At mass, my mom would always nudge me out the door after communion. “That’s long enough,” she would whisper and off we would go, freed from God five minutes before everyone else.)

But, she taught me to always support the underdog (go Orioles!). She taught me the secret to delicious food is often more butter than a recipe calls for. She taught me that speed limits are, apparently, just suggestions.

She loved expensive outfits tailored just so, hipster earrings as big as your fist, and Kobe Bryant.

 

I love sweatshirts two sizes too big, things you’d call kitschy, and the Orioles bullpen.

 

My mom was a badass. She fought with her daughter so her daughter would finally, hopefully, someday be able to fight for herself when her mom was gone.

Someday I want to be a badass, just like my mom.

____

Before you go … Last week I asked Maria, a fellow Orioles fan who writes the always great She Talks Baseball, to tell me a little more about being a “Baseball Mom” and a fan of the game. She kindly answered all of my questions – from how to launder your kid’s dirty uniform to which big leaguer she considers a role model for her son. Her interview is a lovely read for Mother’s Day. You can find it here.

15 thoughts on “We Were Perfect That Way

  1. I never had a close relationship with my mom, still don’t. She never wanted to be friends or go out on dates with me or do all those mom and daughter things that would bring us close. I tried but she always told me she would never be my friend only my mother and now she says that I don’t need a mom anymore now that I’m an adult. I guess she did the best she could and probably had the best of intentions. I have no resentment towards her. She’s a good person even if she is emotional detached. She’s my mom and we love each other.

    • Thank you for sharing this, Aimee. I think we grew up just as mother-daughter roles were changing. Moms were moms and friends were friends — not much crossover. My mom and I had a fractious and challenging relationship, but we were quite close. Now that she’s been gone for years, I realize we used each other to unload the challenges of our days and lives … often misdirected anger that we couldn’t share with the person, people, or situation that caused it. I guess we knew that even after a squabble — or a week of the cold shoulder — we were the two who would still come out of the other side still loving each other.

      I just think love comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes — and it’s not all pink roses, cookies, angels, and sweetness like they sell on Hallmark cards. Your love of your mother, and my love of mine, is as real and rich and meaningful as anyone else’s! Happy Mother’s Day, Aimee … I always look forward to your blog and smile whenever you pop up on mine.

      • Yeah you’re right about many things. Love comes in all forms. I believe we all have the best of intentions. Sometimes being able to accept a person for who they are instead of what you expect makes things a lot smoother.
        I’m sorry you lost your mom. It sounds like no matter what, you two were always able to reconnect and overcome. And that really is the best kind of love, the kind that will stand the test of time. Thank you for sharing your story, it’s very touching.

  2. What great memories you have of your mom! My mom would have joined your mom at the car only earlier … Any sports bore her to death. Lol
    Happy Mom’s day to all the Moms out there.

    • Happy Mother’s Day, Beth! Editor/Husband said I was wrong … he doesn’t think my mom would have made it to the 6th inning, so maybe our moms could have just waited for us in the parking lot! :)

      Hope to see you at the Dav this weekend … looking forward to some ‘Hoos Magic!

  3. Baseball I learned from my mom and in turn I have taught it to my husband and the kids. Its about the only thing I share with my mom – she basically runs down a different road than me. I also enjoyed the other blogger’s blog – how fun to discover another baseball lover! Thank you for sharing your gifts of writing and baseball knowledge and that other thing – yoga – which still escapes me!

    • Thank you for the kind words Sharon! I love meeting other people here who love the game as much as I do!

      “She basically runs down a different road than me.” I love that description! My mom and I had different roads, too, I guess you would say, but for all the times we fussed at each other, we really were well-suited for each other. (Randy says I’m much more like my mother than I can see. I think he means that in a good way!) I like having the opportunity to share a little bit about her on my blog.

    • Thank you, Mike. Oh, I’m so sorry for your loss. It does take awhile for the hurt and emptiness to soften, but, it does get easier. One of the things that was hardest for me was the fear that I would forget things and lose their spirit around me. And, one of the unexpected things over the years is that that isn’t true. It’s been nearly nine years (and nearly 10 since my dad died) and I think of them every single day … not in a sad way, just in a very comforting way. Although it will be very strange with Kobe Bryant’s retirement, because whenever I saw him playing, I would think of how much my mom loved him … it was one of those “living” connections that was still out there.

      Thank you for reading. I think writing these posts each year on Mother’s and Father’s Day has been good for me and a nice way to remember little things — like my mom’s two-speeding-ticket day. She would be so angry at me that I wrote about it! But, I was glad I did, because it was fun for me to share it and my mom would have hated a sad, sappy post. She would have liked that I called her a badass! :)

  4. LOVED reading this post! Thank you for sharing. I loved that picture of your Mom in the car too. Two speeding tickets in one DAY? That is bad ass. Doesn’t sound like she would have enjoyed a long, hot, slow, extra innings game – but she probably would have appreciated a speedy base thief! I thought of you Saturday when I was sitting in right field in Yankee Stadium and saw your little Mookie!!!

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