They say "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." Well, according to my Mother, this apple fell off a tree, rolled down a hill, was carried off in a flood, and somehow found its way next to her. What can I say?! I am a rare gem. Sometimes I say weird things and my actions can't always be explained. It is in these moments - and there are lots of them - that my Mother says, "You are so not my daughter."
There was one particular exchange in high school where I finally rebutted with, "If I am not yours, then who do I belong to?!" We sat in silence as we waited for the steaks on the grill to finish. Finally she said, "You're just a mutant. You're a spawn." I liked it. I could roll with that. But I told her, "You're still my mother. So that makes you the Mother of the Spawn." You are...MOTS. (Pronounced like the applesauce.)
What started as a simple joke, came to define our relationship. MOTS and The Spawn. Cards signed, introductions made, and many explanations to friends later, we are a dynamic duo that couldn't be more different. I am the light-hearted, whimsical, cat tormenting, fashion loving, dreamer. She is the sarcastic, methodical thinking, king snake catching, no bullshit, realist. (Her animal collection has also included ground squirrels, tarantulas, and a wolf. You know, the usual household pets.) Perhaps that is why she has had such success raising me, she knows how to handle wild animals.
I'll never forget the first memory I have of being mad at MOTS. I was four or five, and I wrote her a note: "I hat you." Colored in purple crayon, I was furious. I dropped that beauty off, and did what anyone else would do...hide. Duh. (Note to future self: under the slide is not a good hiding spot.) MOTS found me, pointed out my error, and laughed in my face. I was still enraged, but when you make an epic mistake like that there is no coming back. I crawled out, hugged her, and came in for dinner. "Hate." Haven't misspelled it since.
That is us in our element. Laughing. (Usually at me.) We fight like all mothers and daughters, and I shudder knowing the words "I hate you" have ricocheted in MOTS' ear canals more than once. Looking back, it wasn't her that I hated, it was the fact that she knew me better than I knew myself. I "hat" that she is always right. Like predicting the storyline of Days of Our Lives, MOTS just knows. She knows how far to push me. She knows when to pull my head out of the clouds. She knows how to love me like no one else.
In many ways, MOTS is just as rare as me. She braved the road less traveled when it came to parenting, and our relationship has always been different. I've always called home knowing no topic is off limits. The weather. Sex. How to cook enchiladas. I can ask anything without having to wince. (This proved to be invaluable on more than one occasion in college.) Growing up, she consistently gave me the freedom to make my own choices. Some were right. Most were wrong. But MOTS trusted me to learn from those mistakes. I've been held to a higher standard than most, because MOTS knew I would succeed.
My apple didn't land next to her tree by accident. Only MOTS could have helped me grow into the woman I am today. She often tells me how proud she is of all that I have accomplished. I'm proud too. But of the mother she has become. We will never know if it was simply gravity or some great force of nature, but either way, this Spawn snagged the best tree in the orchard.