My mother and I are a like in many ways.
I chalk this up to two things: heredity and proximity.
First there are the genes. You share your DNA with someone, you’re going to have something in common with them. I only lived in the same household as my father for two years, but I still have things in common with him. I share his flat hair and my aunt says I sound just like him when I laugh. That’s all genetics.
So it’s not a big surprise that I also share traits with the woman who provided of the other half of my DNA.
Then there’s the fact that we live together. Mom and I have similar habits and tastes. We both read a lot, like contemporary furniture and are a little OCD (Or maybe that’s just me.)
Sort of like people starting to look like their pets, people often tell us that we look alike even though that’s not really true. She has thick curly hair and wears glasses. I have fine straight hair and don’t’ have glasses. I have a wide nose and she doesn’t. The only physical facial trait we share is eye color.
And yet, people still tell us we look like a match set and I think it’s due to mannerisms. We spend a lot of time together, so we do things alike. It makes sense.
Shopping, however, is one of those similarities that my mother and I do not share. Don’t get me wrong, we both enjoy shopping. We just go about it very differently.
My mother never agonizes over her purchases. She sees something she likes and she buys it. That’s not to say she buys everything she wants or that she’s a shopaholic. I just mean that if she needs a new lamp, she goes into a store, picks out her favorite and buys it.
I, on the other hand, do the exact opposite. I worry that I’m buying the best one, can’t decide which is my favorite and fret if I don’t think I’m getting a good price.
My ‘style’ of shopping drives my mother mad, probably with good reason. When I’m making what I consider to be a major purchase (which can be a small as a $20 pair of shoes), at some point Mom can be counted on to say “just buy it already!” to me.
I don’t blame her. I’m sure it’s frustrating to stand in an aisle and weigh the pros and cons between two different pairs of jeans for twenty minutes.
My Christmas gift from Mom was new bedding, and it is desperately needed. My old comforter is probably six or seven years old and it is worn ragged.
The edges are faded from when my bed beside a window. The seams are coming undone and over the years it seems to have gotten smaller, so that it barely covers my bed now. (I guess that’s what happens when you wash something labeled ‘dry clean only.’)
I had to buy a big sheet to go under the comforter so there wasn’t an ugly gap of blankets hanging out between the comforter and the floor.
Still, I’ve resisted replacing it because I absolutely love the pattern. It’s red with beige flowers embroidered on it and I’ve never found one I like as much. I’ve also had better things to spend my money on.
But Mom’s generous gift eliminated all my excuses so today was comforter shopping day.
Our shopping trip started at Bed Bath and Beyond. Much to my mother’s glee, I found a comforter I liked after about thirty minutes and five laps around the bedding section.
I had actually looked at this particular comforter before, so that may be why I was able to say I liked it so quickly. It takes me time to make these types of decisions.
But, unfortunately for my poor mother, I couldn’t simply buy the comforter and go home happy. After all there were a lot of other stores. What if one of those stores had one I liked better? Or the same one at a better price?
So we left the comforter at Bed Bath and Beyond (I felt ok with that because there were six of them on the shelf and I doubted they’d sell six of them today.) and went to Sears.
There was nothing that tempted me at Sears, so we moved on to JC Penney. That store had a better selection that Sears, but there was still nothing I wanted to buy. The mall also had Bon Ton, so we headed there next. Again, nothing.
We ended at Target, which I assumed wouldn’t have anything I liked, but I had purchased my beloved old comforter at Kmart (during the Martha Stewart design years) so I wanted to check just in case.
To tell the truth, all these stores had perfectly nice comforters in lovely colors and styles. But I found something wrong with every single one. One was had too many stripes. Another was made of shiny fabric and I don’t like shiny fabric. Yet another was a good color, but the pattern was printed on the fabric and it looked cheap. Another looked like a hotel bedspread.
In every store, my mother would pick out a comforter or two that she thought was nice only to have me shoot it down with some stupid complaint.
And in my defense, there are also some truly horrible, ugly comforters out there. Hideous colors and patterns that I can’t imagine anyone putting in their bedroom. Who would purchase an avocado green and day-glo orange satin comforter with matching pillow shams?
So after four stores and five hours, we ended up back at Bed Bath and Beyond where I purchased the original comforter that I had chosen first thing this morning, happy in the knowledge that it was the only one I liked in a sixty mile radius.
Some days I think my mother deserves to be sainted.