Tuesday, August 30, 2011


August 30, 2011

How is your relationship with your mother?  I am speaking to the women here as there seems to be some dynamic in the mother/daughter relationship that us men cannot understand.  Last night it was on display in two separate, yet similar ways for me.

Beth and her mom have the kind of relationship in which Beth's mom has always played a mind-controlling game with Beth.  She knows that Beth will try to make her happy and do whatever she can for her, but her mom uses it in a way that seems like she was always jealous of Beth liking her dad more. 

In case you are wondering if I am worried the my mother-in-law may stumble upon my blog, uh, no.  She can barely use her home phone without getting Beth over to the house to explain it to her.

So once again Beth tried to play the part of wonderful daughter by inviting her mom to CJ's band practice last night.  The marching band practices every Monday night from 6:30-9 and usually goes through their whole routine around 8:45 at the end.  The idea is that Beth could get her mom to see the routine without her having to go to a Friday night football game or to a band competition.  Brilliant. 

Therefore, all that had to happen was Beth's mom arriving at our house by 8:15, us getting to the high school by 8:30, and watching the practice for 20-30 minutes so she could see her grandson in action.  Simple, right?

To make this happen, Beth told her mom to be at our house at 8:00.  Good idea as the woman with nothing to do all day (no job, no husband, no commitments) is always late.  She did arrive at 8:15.  Okay.  However, as soon as she walked in the door, she had a head full of stories she wanted to tell us about one of her other sons.  I think it was her way of letting us know that she had come to see CJ, but he was not the most important person in her life. She was doing us a favor.  So, she would start the story, tell it in a rambling, nonsensical way that would lead to Beth and her mom performing a take on the Abbott and Costello, Who's on First routine.

What I found funny, is that she would get to a point in the story, we would get interrupted by something like, you know, a band performance, and as soon as the last note was wafting away, she would pick up the story in exactly the same spot.  It was as if she had it memorized and her sole purpose for coming last night was to tell this story.

Beth was going a bit crazy since all she was trying to do was have her mom see her grandson perform.  It wasn't working.

That was fun to watch, kinda like a dog trying to carry a stick through a doorway with the stick turned sideways.  A lot of confused stops and starts and tail wagging.

To top it off, as we got to our vehicle, I saw and mom with her sophomore daughter trying to put daughter's bicycle into the back seat of her Toyota sedan.  I knew this was like stuffing Mama Cass into a pair of bike shorts, but I let them give it a go.  As soon as it became obvious that the bike was not going to fit and the two of them may soon come to blows, I offered to load the bike into my CRV and follow them home.  Even though they did not know me very well, the risk of me fleeing with their bike was better than the risk of damaging the car or damaging each other.

I loaded, followed, and delivered the bicycle and also restored peace to their family.  I may have been nominated for some smaller scale Peace Prize last night. 

I am sure this was short-lived though as I would guess the two of them have found something to butt heads about this morning. 

I have always bemused the fact that Beth and I have never had a daughter.  I see how adorable Beth is and just know that any little girl we would have had would have wrapped me around her finger at birth.  However, as I watch the world's mothers and daughters go through their life dance, I cannot imagine what would have happened if my two favorite women had grown up to form a pact of driving each other insane.  Getting caught in that crossfire may have been devastating.

I  am once again thanking God for knowing what is best for me.


  1. It's a complicated thing, the mother-daughter relationship as you have observed. It's nice that you are so observant of how that all plays out. Your Beth is lucky to have you!

  2. My daughter and I never experienced the typical mother/daughter hatred thing. Don't get me wrong she was no angel, but it had nothing to do with the m/d dynamic.

    My mom, on the other hand, should be up there next to Mother Theresa. I was a horrid teenager. I wrote the handbook that todays daughters consult for ideas on torturing mothers. Could be the reason they sold the house when I was 18 and I was not invited to the new place.

    We have a great relationship now. Things turned around when I was about twenty.

  3. The thing that drives me to distraction is all of the 40-something moms who talk about their teenage daughters being, "my best friend."

    They must be lousy parents. You cannot be best friends with a teenager and still be doing your job as a parent.

    Secondly, why would you want your best friend to be a teenager?