My Mom and I have been at odds over something or other most of my life. It seemed to me that I could never do anything right. Or not right enough for her. No gift I gave her as an adult suited her, either, it seems, (she often gave them back telling me she didn't want them, maybe she just meant she had no use for them? or place to display them?) but when we were clearing out her house so it could be sold, we discovered a collection of the things I made for her in kindergarden and the early grades.
I've heard it suggested that we butted heads so often because we are very much alike. I don't know if that's true. I'd rather it weren't, thank you very much. I do not want to make my daughters feel the way she made me feel.
I'm sure she loved me. She read to me when I was sick, she came to the hospital and stayed at my side when I had my tonsils out. When I was in kindergarden, we were supposed to tell our parents that we could come in costume for Halloween. I forgot. Mom walked me to school, and when I saw all the costumed kids, I refused to go in. She asked what the matter was. I must have explained, because we walked back home, cobbled together a costume from a kitchen apron and the headpiece with bunny ears from another costume, and I went as Mrs. Rabbit, Peter Cottontail's mother.
I was a disappointment to her in many ways. I was only one child, when she wanted a gaggle of younglings at her feet. As I grew up, I turned into someone who wasn't the daughter she wanted. I didn't follow her plan of college, graduate school, a career in science, and then a family. I rebelled. I fell in love with the guy who sat down next to me in Latin class, and told such interesting stories. I married him and dropped out of college. We had kids together. He left me. I have to hand it to Mom that she never said, "I told you so," when I called to let her know he was gone.
As adults, we got along better living far apart. Any time my parents visited for more than three days, my Dad had to referee. I remember one visit when, after my parents left, I couldn't find the can opener. My daughters told me Mom had found it where I kept it, and muttered that it didn't belong there, it belonged in the OTHER drawer, and they watched while she rearranged a variety of things in my kitchen to suit herself.