Mothers & Daughters

Monday, February 28, 2011

The relationship I have with my mom is pretty normal. We're close enough, but we're not BFF. I tell her an abbreviated version of the truth about everything, censoring the gory details. If I have eight drinks, I tell her I've had four. If I've had four, I tell her I've had two. If I got chased by a crazy-eyed man while walking to my car, I'd forget to mention it.

And I'm sure she's just the same with me. I remember getting caught saying THE EFF WORD in elementary school and my parents cornered me about having a filthy mouth. Blubbering through my tears, I asked them if they had ever said the forbidden word. My dad fessed up right away. "I've said it a couple times," he said, straightfaced*. My mom shook her head emphatically. "I've NEVER said THAT WORD," she insisted. Lies!

As much as we might fib to one another about our drinking habits and words of choice, one thing about my mother that's great is that she was always very supportive, no matter what I wanted to do. Running for student council, studying journalism, entering the school science fair, buying a house, she's always been encouraging and never tried to restrict me from doing what I thought would make me happiest. She might have cried all day the day I moved to Halifax as she helped me pack my things, but never tried to keep me from leaving. Having the support of both my parents is something I've always experienced. I have a hard time imagining things any other way. I don't understand parents who hold their children back.

Last week, I was lucky enough to be able to attend Neptune Theatre's Word on the Street production of "The Beauty Queen of Leenane".

I won't spoil the story, but in a nutshell it deals with a dysfunctional (that's putting it lightly) relationship between a mother and daughter in Ireland. The daughter has been taking care of her elderly mom for decades. She's 40 and has never left home. Whenever the opportunity presents itself for her to leave, her mother sabotages it. You alternate between feeling sorry for the mom, then sad for her daughter moments later. And the ending was definitely not anticipated! I left the theatre grateful for my mom, even with her little quirks. After all, she's never kept me prisoner in an Irish cottage. If our biggest issue is the occasional teeny-tiny fiblet, I realized, we're doing pretty well. She truly has our best interests at heart.

If you're in Halifax and are looking for something to do, I highly recommend you check out The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Neptune Theatre. It will make you appreciate your healthy relationship with your parents so much more, if that's your situation. If the play reminds you of your own life...well, I hope you guys have a happier ending than poor old Maggie.

*Dad says THE EFF WORD a couple times an hour, and that's when he's happy.

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