On of my earliest memories is of my mother’s heeled slippers clack-clack-clacking on the linoleum floor of the kitchen first thing in the morning. I slept downstairs on a sort of English-basement level, while upstairs, every morning, without fail clack-clack-clack. Clack-clack. Clack-clack-clack-clack-clack.
I couldn’t sleep through it, only in part because this was a loud noise with an unsteady rhythm. My mom also never stopped moving. Clack-clack. Clack-Clack-Clack. Clack. Mom kept moving to deal with uncomfortable emotions. She vacuumed off her frustration, folded laundry to gain a sense of order over anxiety. She cooked to compensate for the lack of nurturing in her own life. As a kid, all I knew was that she made a lot of noise.
Well into her eighties, Mom walked several miles a day, and even at ninety, she was quite steady on her pins. My mom was the energizer bunny, while I’m the ultimate spud. I excel at sitting, though I know it’s a deadly skill unless moderated by frequent movement.
I love writing binges that go on so long, I can barely recall the last time I used the facilities. Mentally, I scurry around constantly–reading this, writing that, editing the other. I read in bed at night, and keep reading material in my purse, and in other Frequented Locations. But mostly, I love to write and write and write.
I’ve often said that in many ways, my mother and I just were not a good fit.
So…. this week, the book I’m working on demanded a break from me. While my Welsh duke was off brooding me up some more scenes, I got caught up in election coverage, in dire weather explanations, and in flame wars on matters about which I can do not one thing.
Friends, I am humbled to report that on Tuesday of this week, I vacuumed my living room out of sheer desperation. I got out the contractor bags and went after anything I could trash. I did big laundry–throw rugs, pet blankets, you name it. In short, the day I couldn’t get on my mental hamster wheel to play with my toys of choice (dukes, draft newsletters, ad design software, blog posts, revisions), I turned into my mother.
I want to call up my mom and say, “I get it, Ma. I get it.” I suspect my mother is laughing her behonkis off, which is fine–our mother/daughter bond now includes connection by virtue of a vacuum cleaner cord. My living room looks a little better, and I came up with a holiday short story you’ll soon be able to download from the website for free.
Have you ever turned into the very person who used to pluck your last nerve? Ever said the same thing they used to say that you never wanted to hear again?
To one commenter, I’ll send an audiobook of Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish, which went on sale this week, while I was busy vacuuming.