I look like my dad. And some of my personality traits come straight from him - his bloodline or from just spending 19 years with him. For years I didn't want to be like him, to tell the truth. He had a temper, his expectations of people were very high, and he was a genius, which I saw as a flaw. Among other things, I would say. Suffice it to say, I am no genius, so phew I guess. But like him, I do have a temper and my expectations of others is high. Over the years I have tried to quell my temper, and I do feel my anger pales greatly in comparison to his, thankfully. My expectations have also faded over the years...if anything, it is me that I expect a lot from. I grasped onto what I felt were his shining qualities - his generosity and affinity for all things water - and hoped those traits would overshadow the less favorable ones. I am still working on the generosity, but since I have raised two fish as daughters who LOVE the water, I feel good about that one.
I never felt like I was much like my mom. I didn't look like her, and didn't act like her.
So I thought.
Now, let me lead by saying my mom means the world to me. I adore her. Before I had children, I felt that if something happened to her before I was old and gray myself with a foot in the loony door, I would want to go down with her. I thought I couldn't face life without my "Ma". Now I know it would be one of the great sadnesses of my life, but I will go on. My mom is going on 70 years old. 70 used to be "old" to me. Not anymore. My mom went on rides today at Ocean City! That is not something an old person does.
Anyway, as I have aged myself, and because I am a mother, I have seen some similarities rise to the surface. Some are intentional. I sing the same lullies as she did. I use her recipes to make marinara sauce and meatloaf. I buy sandals thinking, "Ma would like these."
And some similarities just show up.
My mom (Marilyn) is a Monce. What is a Monce? It's her maiden name...her parents were Verna and Albert Monce, and she is one of 9 children they had. She was in the middle of their line up of 6 girls and 3 boys. Over the years, my cousins and I have termed "Monce" as a way of describing some of the common traits the Monce siblings share. Most notably, is their interpretation of the right way to do something. Anything. From cutting produce for a crudite tray, to assembling lasagna, to arranging items on a shelf, to ironing. When I was young, my mom didn't have me help with many chores, simply because I didn't do them well enough. And when I did, she'd often redo my work.
I still fold towels COMPLETELY wrong.
Kevin has told me I can be a Monce. Although he coined it "being a Marilyn." When I watched him put together the girls trampoline, he non-politely told me to stop being a Marilyn and go away, because I was Marilyn-ing it. I really thought I was just offering helpful suggestions.
Well, I see it now. I am currently on vacation with my in-laws in Wildwood. In the downstairs floor of a house, close and cozy. My mother in law has told me she hates the noise I make when I itch my throat, and I have told her I hate the way she takes her first sip of coffee and smacks her lips. When you spend several days together, with nary an inch between you, *%$# gets real, yo.
The other morning my father in law lovingly offered to make us all scrambled eggs for breakfast. "Sure!" we said. I stood at the counter slicing bagels for the girls as he got started. I watched in horror as he put a slab of margarine in the pan, and didn't wait until it heated up before he started cracking eggs on the side of the pan and throwing them in. Then, after a few eggs, he took a spatula and mixed them all up. (Sidenote and yet completely on the subject, as he cracked the eggs, he'd throw the shells in the sink, with leftover drippy egg going all over the counter and the cream cheese that was out.)
My jaw hit the drippy-egged counter. No bowl in which to mix the eggs with a dash of milk, salt and pepper? No BUTTER in the frying pan, heating up before you pour in the already-mixed eggs? No waiting until they're set just right before gently sliding your spatula underneath to start breaking up the eggs?
And so then I said it. I Monce-ed it. I Marilyn-ed it.
"Um, Poppy, is that how you make eggs?"
"What do you mean, I'm making eggs."
"Yeah, but you are, like, scrambling them like that, no bowl..." I stammered, starting to understand that he was indeed, making eggs like "that."
And let me tell you - the eggs were pretty good!
My towels do fine folded the wrong way in a closet that no one sees. Sometimes my carrot sticks aren't of uniform cut when I arrange them on the tray...and no one cares. Unless my mom is attending that party.
So I learned something here. But that doesn't mean I won't peer over Kevin's shoulder the next time he's loading the dishwasher and ask if he intended on putting the cereal bowl on the top rack or was that an accident. Because I forgot to mention, I get my verbal impulsiveness from my dad.