Having spent the past few weeks going through somewhat of an emotional time with someone in particular, I’ve been thinking a lot about myself as a person. What’s important to me? What are things I want in my life? What are things I can’t live without? Oddly enough, thinking about relationships and where I want to be has led me back to my parents’ relationship more often than not.
My mother, while loving me dearly, can be a very difficult woman to deal with. As most mothers would say, “How are you feeling,” upon seeing their daughter whom they know is not in the best of moods, my mother has never been quite so sympathetic. Her first words as I walked up the stairs into the kitchen this weekend were, “Hmm… you’re getting a little skinny, no?”. Thanks mom, way to be. Appreciate the heart felt advice.
Despite her shortcomings in the emotional department, she has taught me how to be an independent and self sufficient woman. Listening to her speak her mind, whether it be to a customer service employee or a waitress, mortified me when I was growing up. I would slink away and hide in the car rather than watch her cause a scene over an incorrect bill. This seems to have trickled down from my grandmother, who at 77 once told a nurse who showed up late, that she was no “Myrtle the Turtle,” before promptly kicking the woman out of her hospital room with a flick of the wrist.
As an adult, I have seen most of these qualities emerge in me over the past few years and I can’t say I’m unhappy about it. I’ve argued with everyone from Starbucks employees to cab drivers and surprisingly I have yet to be physically assaulted (it will come). Whoever I end up with is going to have to put up with me and my tendency to become easily annoyed. I have little patience and I can be whiny and I can act like a complete pain in the ass at times. But underneath that I can also be loving and loyal and sweet. I don’t open up to everyone but once I do, I have a tendency to wear my heart on my sleeve. For this reason, I’m protective of myself as no one else is going to do it for me.
Now the purpose of discussing my mother is to get to some of the traits of my father. While I was definitely more frightened of a punishment handed down from him than my mother as a kid, he is not what I would describe as difficult at all. He’s Irish Catholic which, for those of you who don’t know, means fairly soft spoken and absolutely not emotional. On an average weekend you can find him watching sports in the family room or outside tinkering with his latest toy… such as the remote control helicopter he got stuck on the roof last year when he was left unattended by my mother. He lets things roll off his back much more frequently than my mother and isn’t deterred by her sometimes aggressive personality.
From as young as I can remember until now, I think I was aware of all of three arguments they have had over that time span. They are each other’s best friend and while they have been married for about thirty years now, they remain invested in one another every day. My mom still laughs at my father’s jokes like she’s never heard them before. They still look at each other with feelings of love. They made the commitment to work through anything together and have held true to that.
This is not to say they don’t get annoyed with one another. Last weekend while making dinner in the kitchen, I heard my mom ask my father, “so, can you explain this 4th down business in the game to me,” to which my father’s response was one part exhausted sigh mixed with an ‘are you really serious right now’ exhale. Driving with the two of them is a whole other issue. While my dad insists on driving, my mother insists on pointing out every vehicle, rock, bicycle, dog, cat, moving or non moving object on the roadway anywhere from 30 feet to 17 miles ahead of us. This makes for drives filled with an enormous amount of eye rolling and various versions of ‘YES, I SEE IT, CALM DOWN,' included.
From them I’ve learned I want a relationship with someone I consider a best friend. I want someone who supports me in everything I do and who will be there regardless of whether I’m being difficult or I’m upset or I’m angry. I need someone who says they won’t hurt me and who means they won’t hurt me. I need someone who understands my sense of humor and can be just as ridiculous and silly as I can. Intelligence is a must. If I can’t discuss politics or history or world issues with you, we’re going to have a problem. I want someone who will invest in me as much as I will invest in them. In turn, I will be there for that person through anything and everything. I will be this person’s biggest fan.
My mother always said if she had met my father any earlier than she had she probably would have thought he was too nice for her. I have to say at 28 years old, I think I am finally ready for someone who’s simply nice.