Monday, January 26, 2009


I'm still aglow from yesterday.

And the funny thing is, it's not like anything big or important happened. It was just a lot of little good things. For the last little while, it's been like picking up diamonds on a beach. Susan Werner has a great song that describes this called philanthropy. You can check out the lyrics here:

The whole album is excellent, so I recommend you buy it and download it if you don't already have it in your possession--the woman is amazing....

So, a good afternoon with SIL, younger sister and mom, one of those 'at home' parties where everyone is expected to buy stuff and help move the sluggish economy. Wasn't as bad as some things I attended and of course my younger sister is entertaining, so that made for time well spent.

Probably the most surprising aspect of the afternoon was my conversation with mom. We are not particularly tight--never have been. I've been a source of puzzlement to her pretty much my entire life, starting with my startling physical resemblance to her and ending with my complete apparent lack of any other kind of resemblance.

We don't have a typical mother-daughter relationship. My elder sister is her best friend, but I'm her clinical ear and counselor. And I've always been comfortable in that role, since I was never in the running for mom's favorite (I left the other 3 to duke that out). I was dad's favorite and content to leave it there.

Once, when I was a teenager, I sat down with her and went point for point on why nuclear annihilation would never happen (I was obsessed with and scared stupid by the thought so buried myself in academic arguments) and when I finished, she stared at me a moment and asked, "Where did you come from?"

That pretty much sums us up.

Having said that, yesterday I was standing in my sister's kitchen, and she asked how my boys were doing. I described my Saturday. Her friend F was there, and came in saying loudly, "Here she is, your most beautiful daughter. I tell everyone that Betty has the most beautiful daughter, Elizabeth. There is always one shining star in the bunch...."

Meanwhile, my mom is frantically trying to shush her because my younger sister (who would NOT be happy to hear this lavish praise heaped on some one else) was probably in earshot even though she wasn't in the room. And I'm turning 8 shades of red and pink because full frontal flattery is not something I'm accustomed to. (Although it did make my day).

Mom and I continued our conversation in the next room, the nature of which I can't go into here for a number of reasons. But at the very end of the conversation, when she looked at me with an unreadable expression, I expected condemnation. She knocked me back on my heels.

"You really are my daughter, after all," she said. And she smiled. "And I can't tell you why, so you'll just have to take my word for it."

I've long since given up seeking her approval, but the acknowledgment was all I ever *really* wanted.

And she was wearing the necklace I bought her for her 60th birthday. I regretted buying it many times over the last decade, because she never wore it.

She's finally wearing it--five amethysts surrounding a diamond. I chose it because it represented us--the family we've been since late 1974.

And I think she finally sees it.


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