Last Thursday my Mom and I went out for dinner to celebrate my birthday. Yes, my birthday was Monday, but people are busy. Namely, me.
I love Mom. This goes without saying, I think. But I love her more than the obligatory daughter-to-mother love ratio. She’s an amazing person that’s been through a lot in her life and still is the kindest most caring person I know. Honestly, she’ll give you the shirt off her back and then ask you if you’re still cold and go buy you a new wardrobe. That’s the kind of person she is and I hope that some of it has rubbed off onto me.
But there are ways in which my mother and I are extremely different. I’d like to just describe them in general, but I think that these two vignettes will serve to do the job much better than I ever could.
My mother arrives at my house and pets one of the outdoor cats from two doors down for about five minutes while Rocky goes nuts at the door. She then gets in and proceeds to tell me how happy Rocky is and what a good dog he is (which is not a lie–he’s a kickass dog). So she gives me my gift and it’s extremely generous. Then we get ready to leave…
We’re in her minivan (Pride and Joy) and we’re backing out of the driveway. She looks back up at the house before shifting the van into reverse.
“You need to trim your bush,” she says matter-of-factly.
Without missing a beat, I reply, “That’s what she said.”
“That’s what who said?” she counters.
At this point I’m laughing hysterically.
She continues, “Who said that?”
I can’t stop laughing and reach into my purse to try and call Mr. CVD.
“Did someone tell you that you need to trim your bush?”
Laughter continues uproariously. Mr. CVD’s phone goes to voicemail and I put it down. I contemplate calling The Mister and then realize that I probably should just wait to tell him later.
“No one mom…it’s a joke.”
“Oh.” She pauses, ostensibly to gather what the joke may be. “Ha.”
She continues to back out of the driveway, clearly not understanding how she set me up for the perfect “that’s what she said,” joke. My Dad would have gotten this.
My mom heavily insisted suggested that we try some Vietnamese place the people at the nail salon suggested. Now, my mom isn’t shy from cultural food, but this extreme desire to visit this place isn’t quite like her. So I say fine and we go. Of course, she expects the decor to be much more than it is.
“Oh….this is it?” she asks as we pull into the mid-1980s strip mall where it’s located. “Are you sure you want to go here?” she questions, almost suggesting that this was my idea.
“We can go somewhere else.”
“This is fine, we’re here. Let’s just go in.” I assure her.
“I just thought it’d be….you know…a little fancier,” she struggles to get out.
“I didn’t.” She’s pulling in the parking spot very trepidetiously. “But that’s fine.”
“Okay,” she says very unsure of her selection.
So we get in and order. This was no small feat, because the menu was composed almost entirely of dishes we had no clue what they were. She asks the waitress if the beef is ground or not in this dish, the waitress thought she said “brown,” and I have to clear up the ensuing confusion. Eventually we order.
As we sit and wait I look at her shirt. It’s an interesting t-shirt with applique shoes and boots that are all in some sort of animal print and the shirt says, in between the melange of footwear, “Take a Walk on the Wild Side!” (Side note: this is the woman who wears glittery shit to go bowling, so this shirt will not come as a surprise to anyone who knows her.)
“What’s with that shirt?”
She looks down and pulls the fabric out to inspect the shirt closer. “It’s got shoes on it.”
“No shit, Mom.”
“Well…you see it’s got shoes on it that are animal print…”
“And it says ‘Take a Walk on the Wild Side!'”
“Right,” I respond.
“Well…it’s wild because of the shoes.”
“Yes, I get it.” Then I add, “The joke isn’t lost on me, it’s just not funny.” And it’s not funny. I’ll be damned if she thinks this shirt is amusing, but my “that’s what she said” victory from earlier wasn’t.
“Well, it’s better than what you’re wearing.”
I look down and do the same thing she just did. I’m wearing a Detroit Pistons t-shirt. “No it’s not,” I say.
“It’s a damn t-shirt,” I respond. “It’s a sports team…it’s not a bad joke.”
We sit there without much to say until the spring rolls come. At that point, the waitress does not give us any silverware. There are some funny spoons and chopsticks on the table. I hand her some.
“How’s this for wild, Mom?”
Take a walk on the wild side indeed.
Sometimes I wonder how we’re related when things like this occur. My sarcasm is clearly not from her–she barely gets when I’m being sarcastic, let alone engages in sarcasm herself. And although I’m no fashion plate, I’d not be caught dead in a shirt with applique shoes on it. I have some standards. (Mr. CVD can shut up with his comment here…)
But as we’re walking to the car, I remember that we are again connected.
“Well that was interesting,” she says, unlocking the doors.
“Yeah, I thought it was good.”
“I didn’t think it was that good…the beef was tough.”
“Mine was good.”
“Oh well, sorry…”
“Don’t be sorry…I liked it.”
We pause before separating into a ‘Y’ shape to enter either side of the van.
“I could go for some ice cream,” she says. And even though I was stuffed, it’s that kind of blatant love of eating food (especially at times when you shouldn’t be hungry) that reminds me she is my mother and I am her daughter again. Applique shoes, lack of sarcasm and all.