What's that saying about picking your friends, not your family? Essentially this just means you're stuck with the people with whom you share bloodlines. And that can make for some awkward moments.
Because common bloodlines don't necessarily mean common values, shared interests, or, especially, a similar political outlook.
I still remember the time my biological mother told me "I'd never have let you vote Democrat." As if she had a choice.
And even if she had raised me, who's to say I wouldn't have still turned out to be a liberal "silver flower" (her word for hippies or at least that one well-to-do hippie we ran into in downtown Wichita Falls on my latest visit. She was dressed in a maxi skirt and wearing no make-up--the horror. I can only imagine that my mother glanced at my still-dyed hair and sighed in relief thinking, there but for the grace of God and Nice N Easy Root Touch Up go I.
Anyway, point is that sometimes--unless there are devastating reasons to decide otherwise--you should probably sometimes go home again. And it doesn't have to be too painful if you just adopt a few methods of self-preservation.
1) Focus on what you have in common: On the surface I don't think my mother and I share much. Certainly not looks--at least not obviously so. But we have the same eyes and we definitely share a love for clothing, shoes and bags even if our tastes in such are very, very different. Cory thinks we share the same sense of vanity although I'm not apt to reapply my lipstick nearly a dozen times a day (I'm more of a one-and-done kind of gal). She also loves bright colors and flashy jewelry in the same way I wear a lot of black. I'm pretty sure in fact that she finds my fashion choices appalling. Still it's there--those common threads. We both also love black coffee, chocolate and cats. I don't know if that's genetics but it at least is a starting point for conversation.
2) Share the past: I can count on one hand the number of times I've come out to visit my mother since we first met in 1996. There are still many pieces to the family history puzzle that I'm still coaxing from her. It hasn't been easy but at least it's something to talk about. Where she grew up, what her parents were like, what her sister is like. Little bits of history, spilled drop by drop.
3) Don't sweat the stupid, small stuff. Really. So she thinks being vegetarian means finding you a place to eat that offers a vegetable-heavy side dish menu. Just eat the steamed broccoli and baby carrots, smile and say it's wonderful
4) Go ahead and talk politics--that is if you've got the will power to bite your tongue when your mother tells how handsome and charming Rick Perry is and what a good job she thinks Greg Abbott will do as governor and goodness, didn't he just kick that little Wendy Davis' behind? Ask politely about the congressman with whom they had breakfast on Election Day. It's OK, you can handle one conversation like this and, amazingly, she never even brings up Obama once. Progress!
5) Alcohol, obviously.
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