Thursday, June 24, 2010

Little Cathy

Remember Mama Kat and her workshop? Well, this week I chose Prompt 3.) What does your child do that reminds you most of yourself? How does it make you feel? Except that I can't follow directions and wandered aimlessly around. Here you go:

When I was a little girl, people always stopped to tell me how much I looked like my mother. When I was in college, one of her old high school friends mistook me for her. As an adult, people often mistake us for sisters. And when I was in high school, one of her students spent my entire freshman year calling me Little Cathy.

I found this annoying, highly annoying, because just like every other kid in the universe, I spent my high school years trying desperately to figure out how I different from everyone else, so there was no appeal in being a miniature version of my mother. On the other hand, I was secretly very, very pleased.

I have mostly regarded my mother with a kind of awe and respect. She is an incredibly strong, stubborn, fierce woman. The kind of woman who invented the concept of Mama Bear. She is also pretty cool, all things considered. She lives in jeans, likes cool cars, listens to some good music (although living through the 70's and having not a single Led Zepplin album to show is a little sad). She's a gypsy soul, smart, sassy, romantic and a little crazy. She knows everything you do before you do it. And she will always, always rescue you. But not until you are ready to be rescued.

Being compared to her is a little like being compared to Mother Theresa. You're pleased and also a little pissed, because how could you ever possibly live up.

My mother and I share more than our inky hair and Howard nose, though. I got my temper from her, my love of books (although our tastes in books is wildly disparate), my intollerance of stupidity, my love of purple, my passion for broomstick skirts, my panic attacks.

We're close, my mom and I. Closer than most mother/daughter duos that I know. I see her nearly every day, eat with her at minimum once a week, hang out at her house, borrow her shoes (when in utter desperation) and hers is the shoulder I always want to cry on.

I can't help but think that our closeness comes, at least in part, from our similarities. I can't help but think that if we weren't related, we'd still be friends, because we're just so similar. And okay, we couldn't ever agree on shoes or a movie, but we could easily agree on salsa and a margarita.

One of the first things anyone ever said to me about Brynna was, "She looks just like her dad." And it's gone on and on. People love to tell me how Brynna has her dad's eyes or mouth. She definitely has his hair and his build (stupid people are nothing but torso - do you know how hard it is to get a dress to fit someone who is tall for her age, but has tiny short legs?). She has his temper, not mine.

We have so little in common, my pigeon and me. The little things we share, like the oft lauded Doctor Who seem like something to write in the sky. She doesn't like the same books as I do, the same movies, the same activities, the same cookies. Whereas I'm a planner, obsessively working through every detail of a day, she is impulsive, changing everything at the last minute.

Frankly, I enjoy the differences as much as the similarities. I love the way she is hell-or-high-water her own person. I love her impish grin, her individuality, her will. Even the things that annoy me (her pink obsession, her inability to clean up after herself, her willingness to live in a room carpeted by stuff) amuse me because they point me toward the woman I see her moving toward.

But, I'm a worrier and I worry. And in this case, I worry that we'll never be as close as my mom and I are. That we'll never love the same things, never watch the Oscars together miles apart on the phone, never be the first number the other one calls.

When I look at my mother and my little girl, I see their shared traits, their artistic talent that will forever elude me, their strength, their ferocity. I feel so small compared to the two of them. And I can't help but wonder if maybe I have those things, too, but can't see them for seeing myself, my weaknesses.

Maybe that boy was right all those years ago, maybe I am a little Cathy. A miniature version of my mom in all the best ways. And I hope that if that is true, then Brynna will someday be a Little Jessi. Although, in my heart of hearts I know, she will never be anyone but herself.

Mama's Losin' It


Suze said...

Or it could be that your differences bring you together. 3 generations of women all the same could potentially be too much of a good thing, you know? You're doing an amazing job raising her, and that's what counts.

Ady said...

This was great!

Cindy S. said...

So sweet :)

Tessa said...

Beautiful writing. Well done.

Orlandel said...

I'm still crying, so I can't leave a comment.