With the holidays on the horizon I am looking forward to a houseful of friends and family for Thanksgiving. We cook, we gather, we eat, we laugh, we argue (and all of the other behaviors families do over holiday weekends), and we give thanks. I have vivid memories of my mother walking through the door with her somewhat dry stuffing, a rainbow jello mold right out of Better Homes and Gardens 1972, her bourbon pecan sweet potatoes, and most of all, her warm & loving energy and enthusiasm for this, and every holiday.
I miss her dearly. Mom left a legacy to all of us that loved her. She left recipes, bits of everyday wisdom, a path of memories that we still walk down, laughter, tears, and laughter with tears-the kind that makes you pee in your pants in places you shouldn't, like hotel hallways and side streets in Paris.
My mother left me something else, something that has been a surprise and a joy to me. She had more friends than anyone I know, truly. My mother kept up with her friends from grade school, college, etc., and made new ones all of the time. The surprise is that my mother left me the legacy of her girlfriends. They call me, I call them, we have lunch, we drink wine, we have dinner...
I am so grateful to have inherited what was most important to her, the legacy of her relationships.
The mother-daughter relationship is the most complex of them all, and in the end after all of the tussle and push and pull, has the most potential for real friendship. I remember my mother reading the book "My Mother, Myself" by Nancy Friday. It was a seminal book about women taking a look at themselves and really being able to differentiate from their mothers, but also seeing and knowing that there are similarities, and accepting these. The ability to integrate both the differences and the similarities is when the adult friendship can happen. Sometimes it's hard to admit we're more like our mothers than we'd like to be, and some days, I am so grateful that what pops out of my mouth is just what she would have said.
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