I certainly got off luckier than many in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. My power was out for four days, but I was able to grab my dog, hop in a cab and flee to my mom’s apartment in Brooklyn, where the electricity was just right, the TV was in the background, and the wifi was delicious. (Beastie Boys reference, sorry.) I was able to work the rest of the week from her apartment and stay up to date on news, particularly how badly Hurricane Sandy had hurt many others in the region. I feel very, very grateful. Especially because staying with my mom for those four days — during which she also worked from home — was actually a really nice experience. I’m nearly 33 and haven’t spent that much time with my mom, in a relatively confined space (her apartment is less than 500 square feet), since I was a teenager going on family vacations. In some ways, you would maybe think it would be a recipe for disaster, or at least some serious tension. Nope! In fact, I enjoyed hanging out with my mom so much that I kind of missed her last night when I was chilling back at my apartment.
Getting through Hurricane Sandy relatively unscathed, especially compared to so many others, made me appreciate how good I have it, but so did spending so much time with my mom. For a big portion of our lives, we see our parents as just that — our parents — instead of full-fledged human beings. As adults, I don’t think we — and I include myself in this — spend as much time as we should getting to know our parents and appreciating them as people. I got such a kick out of my mom this past week and learned a few random things about her that I might not have. Yes, this is a bit self-indulgent, but let it inspire you to get to know your parents a little bit better, even if it’s gathering silly little tidbits about them. Like these!
1. She had a lot of odd jobs in her 20s, including working at a tomato sauce plant and sorting sorrel (an herb). She got paid per bunch of acceptable, unbruised leaves. Now she works as an ESL teacher. I’m not sure if she still uses her sorrel sorting job skills though.
2. There is nothing you can say to get her to agree to watch “Magic Mike,” especially once she has seen the cover photo of the DVD.
3. She does an incredible impression of Keira Knightley in “A Dangerous Method.” The actress plays a woman who is supposed to be a little mad, but her portrayal was much closer to that of someone with cerebral palsy. Which annoyed the shit out of both my mom and I, as that was the movie she wanted to watch instead of “Magic Mike.”
4. She thinks my ugly stage — when I had braces, acne, and dressed like a sister wife — was my cutest stage and will never take photographic evidence of it down from her refrigerator.
5. When faced with something potentially life threatening — like a possible breast cancer scare — she will weather the waiting period alone rather than worry her kids. I suppose I’ve always known her to be selfless to a fault, but in addition to being relieved that she’s a-okay, I hope I conveyed that she can always lean on me too.
6. Speaking of breast cancer, there is never a bad time to ask me, her adult daughter, whether I check my breasts regularly for lumps, including while I’m in the middle of working on a Wednesday afternoon and she’s eating cheese and crackers for lunch. Yes, Mom, I do, and yes, I know how to do it correctly. My boobs are pretty fibrous too. Sorry, I mean breasts.
7. At first she thought Sour Patch Kids were “interesting,” but moments later she declared them “really good.”
8. She doesn’t DVR anything because she didn’t know she had the ability to DVR or that such a thing as DVR existed.
9. Even though I am nearly 33, she still shoots me subtle side-eye when I pour myself a third glass of wine.
10. She loved the movie “Leaves of Grass,” which features Edward Norton playing wildly different twins, one of whom is a hydroponic pot grower, until the end when “it turned very dark.”
11. Despite being a bit of a hippie, her first response to seeing a baby crowning cake on the blog STFU Parents was “SO STUPID.” My thoughts exactly, Mom.
12. Her contribution to the “funny photos on the internet” conversation was a photo of a couple of old people dressed up as nudists for Halloween, which she thinks is the funniest thing ever.