June 05, 2006

Guilt or die

I just ate a steaming hot plate of guilt and responsibility. The chef? My mother, who is completely committed to being sure I come out of this whole young-adult thing on top, with a clean house and a balanced checkbook.

I've mentioned before how my mother was very involved in, like, everything when I was growing up, right? Local elections, fire district and emergency response plan, her career, my "upbringing", my education, my calcium intake... it was all her domain. And bless her heart, she ruled her kingdom with an iron fist, a clock set 7 minutes ahead, three functional calendars, a strong cup of coffee in the morning and at least one late, disorganized, gasping child/spouse in tow.

It was always cool when I was growing up having a mom who attended everything and knew all my friends by first and last name, driver's license number, address, and political party and stuff. I lucked out, though, because she's actually very cool. And pretty. Which means my guy friends liked her and my girl friends looked up to her.

Yeah, my mom was cooler than me.

Anyway, now that I'm older and she has less direct contact with my peer group/life, I have

a) higher self-esteem
b) a chronic lateness problem
c) more time to fixate on why her being very type A and very involved occasionally sucks for me. Namely, guilt.

You see, two of her greatest passions happen to align with two of my greatest weaknesses: letter-sending and voting.

My mother writes letters with the regularity of clockwork. Though we only live approximately 20 miles apart, I can expect something in the mail on a near-weekly basis. And she makes her own cards, so they're very Martha Stewart (and each letter probably takes her an hour, including labor). I mean, it's actually very awesome to get stuff in the mail - until I consider carefully the time she's invested and the fact that the last time I sent HER mail was... well... never. Then the guilt creeps in.

I'm a taker! All I do is take, take, take! When am I ever going to make time for anyone besides my boss, my cat and myself?! I can't even write a letter to my own mother!

It's pretty bad, this guilt. And it's compounded by the fact that in these letters, she usually includes something she feels I'll find relevant or interesting. Such as a clipping on how to best avoid contracting meningitis (more on this later), or how to make a "Quick And Easy Crockpot Meal" or about how many glasses of milk I should drink per day to avoid osteporosis. (I drink zero glasses of milk per day. She drinks 3. Guilt and self-loathing? OOOh! Another helping, please!!)

And that's not even the worst of it.

My mom's involvement in the voter registration process in our home county means that she is almost as inflamed about voting as P. Diddy himself. She actually mails my absentee ballots on to me -- in a different county, now.

And I'm so threatened by them that I actually fill them out most of the time, because I picture my mom standing there over me, with a "Vote or Die" t-shirt on, wearing it completely without irony:

"Vote or DIE, honey! I mean it! And if I don't kill you, you'll probably wish you were dead! Like how about I come by your office with a sack lunch and ask if somebody forgot something this morning? How about that, Lizzie? Yeah, maybe you should just VOTE, dont you think? Or DIE, remember?"

I'm a bad person. I honestly don't have an opinion about school levees or random referendums. I'm pretty focused on really important issues. Like, paying my car insurance and learning how to apply streak-free self-tanner and determining the most effective abdominal workout and generally being a consumer whore.

And here's my mother, sending mail to everyone she loves on a weekly basis, running a home and working multiple jobs (for fun) and volunteering, and trying to continue to shape me into a responsible, contributing 'adult', even from afar. Poor thing has her work cut out for her.

I'd help her out, but, you know, I've got a lot going on. Like, there's a new "US Weekly" out and the Nordstrom's Half-Yearly Sale is coming up. And another Goddamn absentee ballot to decode, too. So yeah... I'm pretty booked for the next couple weeks.

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