After running four miles in the rain yesterday, I came home, showered and then made my customary weekly call to my mother where I find out how she’s doing, the happenings of my geriatric cat and updates on the rest of the family.
Our conversation was the usual. The cat is becoming more indecisive in his old age (‘Should I go outside, take a nap or try to trip up the old lady? Decisions, decisions...’) but at least he’s improving with his litter box aim. My Aunt P is recovering well from shoulder surgery and is calmly awaiting the arrival of the store flyers in order to organize her troops (her three daughters and a select group of grandchildren) for the Battle for Black Friday Bargains. My Aunt P meticulously plans this stuff and makes sure everyone has their cell phones charged and at the ready in case evasive maneuvers need to be taken. She really should have been a general in the military.
My mom then told me that there were a couple of accidents at her workplace recently, one of which resulted in a compound fracture to someone’s arm. My mom works in a place with large machinery, forklifts, etc. so stuff like this can happen if you don’t watch what you’re doing. As a result of these incidents, all the employees were forced to watch a safety video which detailed the various consequences (physical, legal and financial) of a workplace accident.
The film was made in Britain and, for some reason, was set on a construction site. Basically a guy dismantling scaffolding is distracted by his phone and an accident occurs. I think he gets hurt as well as another co-worker. But near the end of the video you realize an innocent bystander was killed in the incident too—a woman walking along the path.
I had no idea why Momma X was detailing all of this for me until she said: ‘The woman had a brown ponytail. And it was in England.’
The woman reminded her of me.
Now, in a way, this whole thing is kind of funny because Momma X was very easygoing when Z and I were kids. Hell, she let me go to Zimbabwe when I was 17 and even helped me raise money for the community service project I was going there to participate in. All our friends thought Momma X was the coolest, which of course was true, then and now. Her attitude was a good balance to the overbearing but well-meaning actions of Papa X who worried about anything and everything (thanks in large part to the morbid stories shown every night on the news) and let us know about it at every opportunity.
It seems as Z and I have gotten older, Momma X has started to show more outward signs of worrying about us. A few years ago when Momma X saw commercials for the horror movie Hostel II, she asked me not to stay in a hostel again. She and I both know that the likelihood of the Hostel scenario actually happening is pretty much nil, but the idea bothered her anyway. I have no problem in complying with that request though because I’m past the age now where I’d want to deal with sleeping in a room with a dozen strangers and all their oddball habits when I travel. I get enough of that on excavations.
Momma X isn’t all about gloom and doom nowadays though. In fact the majority of what we discuss is usually quite amusing. And inevitably, during the course of the conversation, she’ll play my voice recording.
A few years ago Z gave me a voice recorder (like the ones you find in stuffed animals) with a greeting from her and two of our little cousins. Unfortunately that message was accidentally deleted (my bad!) so I ended up jokingly recording myself on it saying ‘Eat my balls.’ [Editor’s note: Of course I wasn’t being vulgar (*bullshit*) as I was referring to my grandma’s chocolate peanut butter balls which I’ve been making at Christmas for the last several years now.] Momma X was so amused by the recording that she’s kept it ever since. She also had a recording of Z saying ‘sonofabitch’ in her own special way. (Yeah, we’re classy girls.) Sadly that recorder is now busted so Z needs to get her another one for Christmas.
Z and I are touched by our mom’s concern for us. It’s not overbearing or dictatorial in any way. She just worries about us, as we do for her. We’re her daughters and no matter how old we get a part of her will always see us as her little girls.
My conversation with Momma X ended in the usual way yesterday—love-you’s, goodbyes and promises to talk again next week. Before hanging up, Momma X reminded me again to steer clear of construction sites for a while.
I’ll be careful, Mom. I promise.
As for the rest of you—have you experienced this? Do/did your parents or parental figures treat you a bit like a kid even as an adult? I’m in a nostalgic mood at the moment, so come and keep me company with your own tales of familial fun.