Sunday, June 25, 2006

I'm becoming my mother

I've had two people in the last two months mistake me for my mother. Granted, both people were probably over the age of 80, had never met me, and since they feel so young at heart they didn't realize that 30+ years had gone by since they had seen my mom. However, their mistake in idendity leads me to believe what everyone fears: I am turning into my mother.

What is odd for me to think about is that when my mother was the age I am now (almost 31), my brother was 5, and I was 2. That is very similar to the ages of my children (6 and 3). But my mom seemed so much older then than I feel now (does that make sense?) There are days when I do not feel like being an adult. Today was one of those days. We came home from camping back to reality. Our yard needed cleaned up, I had laundry to do from the weekend, our freezer and refrigerator needed emptied of the unrescued perishable items and cleaned from the melted popsicles in the freezer and miscellaneous spills that had happened in the refrigerator over the last 5 years. We had to transfer our saved freezer/refrigerator items (which when you coupon shop and have a garden, it's an abnormal amount of food) from my in-laws house to our house. Noone had eaten, Elizabeth got a bloody nose, Anna ran into the corner of the table, the kids wanted to watch a video, and when we tried to turn on the t.v., we realized it was another casuality of the storm. But on days like today, you have to suck it up and dig in. Of course, that meant I had to do the responsible thing and not get on the computer, but I got a good start on the laundry, cleaned the appliances, Jason went and got the food from his parents' house, bought a new t.v. at Wal-Mart, and picked up Arbys. (What's gonna work? Teamwork. That's for all you Wonder Pets fans.) I didn't say it was a cheap day for the Wuertleys, but maybe all that money we saved from no electricity over the last three days will help pay for it. Today was an unusually busy "adult" day, but there are many days when I would rather not face the responsibility of being in charge of not only my life but two other little lives. Now that I am an adult, I can appreciate the responsibilities that my mom handled when I was growing up - going to work, cooking, cleaning, the list goes on and on. And now it is my turn to be on the other side of that, and because I witnessed her do these things day in and day out, it's been a much easier transition.

I see other areas in my life where I am becoming my mother. Summertime was garden time, and that meant shelling and freezing peas, snapping and canning green beans, and shucking and freezing corn. My Grandma Bowman would help my mom. Now my mom helps me. When we moved into our house, I finally had enough yard space to have a garden. Each year it seems to get a little bigger, and between what I yield from my garden and what my uncle so generously lets me get from his, I am continuing with the garden tradition. To be honest, and I hope my grandpa doesn't ever read this, I prefer the taste of store-bought canned green beans to garden canned beans. I'm pretty sure my kids do, too. But my mom always served us garden beans (it was a treat to go to my Grandma Porter's house, because then I got the store-bought kind), so that's what my kids will get, too. There's nothing like garden corn, though. Also, my mom was always really involved in the church. She sang in the choir, served on countless committees, and was active in Sunday School. Her areas of involvement were a little different than mine, because I tend to volunteer more in children's ministry, but nevertheless, I grew up understanding that you are to be an active part of the church body. I find myself making the same meals I had as a kid growing up - and using my mom's recipes. I even drive the same make and model of car, just a different year. And I've just had a mini-revelation about my phobia of the dark - my mom couldn't stay by herself all night, either, and that was often during sports season when my dad was coaching. My grandma would come and stay with us. Am I a product of my environment or what? I could be used as a great example in the whole Nature vs. Nurture argument.

This post is turning out differently than I thought it would - I'm not sure if it is a tribute to my mom, a chance for me to complain about being an adult, or a comparison between my mom and me. Regardless, for those of you who know my mom, she is a pretty great woman, so if I am turning into her, that's fine by me.


Blogger Holly said...

I think this post is a true testimony to the great job your mother did as a mom. I hope one day my little girls writes something as nice about me!

June 26, 2006 12:58 AM  
Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

You and your mom are both great women, Deb. :)

And, I think one reason you and your kids may like the taste of store-bought green beans better could be the obscene amount of sodium they have in them. That or, like me, you like the skinny french style green beans which have tons of sodium but also seem more fun to eat.

June 26, 2006 8:27 AM  
Blogger Kelley said...

I'm so glad you're back. I clicked on your link all weekend long even though I knew you were gone! How sick is that? I'm in 100% agreement about the greenbeans. It's a texture issue for me. Garden greenbeans are too mushy. In my family we have determined that I AM my mother. I hear myself saying certain things and it's like i can hear her voice in my head. I don't mind though, she's a great mom!

June 26, 2006 8:52 AM  
Blogger Joel said...

I just logged on to make a quick comment about the green beans thing and realized that two other comments deal with this as well. Maybe we should form some kind of support group.

Here's my take: The canned green beans and the fresh-cooked green beans that I grew up with both have the same problem. I now realize that they're overcooked. (I realize that my mom might read this, but that's just a chance I'll have to take.)

When I proudly served my parents' canned beans to my first roommate here in Columbus, he kind of turned up his nose, and I was a little offended. But then I tasted green beans the way he makes them: still bright green and crunchy -- what I've seen called "crisp-tender" -- and they're delicious that way! Ever since then, I've had trouble enjoying green beans Showalter-style (soggier and colored dark olive green).

Another bonus, from what I understand, is that more vitamins stick around when veggies are cooked for less time.

My recommendation, Deb? Next time you have garden beans, just blanch them until they're "crisp-tender," and see if they don't measure up a little better to canned.

And oh -- if it makes you feel any better, I think I'm turning into a combination of my father *and* my mother. Not that my parents aren't great people (same goes for my aunt and uncle). But I find myself joking with bank tellers and waitresses like my dad does. I say my mom's goofy sayings. Some days my temper has a pretty short fuse (dad); some days I struggle with dust and clutter (mom). Can anyone else relate??

June 26, 2006 2:28 PM  
Blogger Hummel Family said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

June 26, 2006 4:56 PM  
Blogger Hummel Family said...

Okay, my take on green beans...I didn't really care for them until I moved to Amish Country...My mom-n-law actually just taught me the BEST way to cook the Pressure Cooker...and it only takes 3 minutes...YOu all need to try it this way!

I am like my mom too, Deb! We both love to laugh (and the laugh is so similar at times), sing and clean!!!

I ,too, find myself making meals my mom made growing up and also carrying on the tradition of homemade birthday cakes...just like my mom did for us on our birthdays.


June 26, 2006 4:57 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Joel, interesting you say that about having a short fuse - I've never seen that side of you! Could be a future blog post - how we view ourselves compared to how others see us. And I will try your green bean recipe as soon as I have fresh beans. JoEllen - I've never used the pressure cooker other than to can beans - do you put them in a mason jar and let it get to pressure for 3 minutes or what - how does that work?

June 26, 2006 5:07 PM  
Blogger Hummel Family said...

Deb--you add fresh greens straight from the garden (of course washed, snipped and cut in half) and I add bacon too..add 1 cup water and then let them do their action in the pressure cooker...once it bobbles you time it for 3 minutes! Yummy!

June 26, 2006 10:33 PM  
Blogger Hummel Family said...

no mason jar needed!!!

June 26, 2006 10:34 PM  
Blogger Joel said...

Okay, now I'm feeling paranoid. So indulge me for a second while I add the following to the post above: I certainly don't mean to enumerate any of my parents' minor shortcomings in public ('cause the blogosphere is kinda public). I was just musing at random about the times I see my parents in me.

I love my mom's cooking, green beans and all -- and am amazed how she still holds down a full-time job and cooks dinner every night and keeps that house up, which is bigger than mine! The dust and the clutter are much more my problems than hers.

And my dad can be a very patient person, especially with me, it seems. He's a great help to me in many ways.

(Eck. Now it sounds like I'm laying it on too thick. Oh well. Trust me, it's sincere.)

The upshot? I guess I'm weighing in on one of Deb's themes: We find out that our parents are pretty remarkable people, especially seen through the eyes of a thirtysomething.

June 26, 2006 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Sue said...

Well, can't agree with you all on the garden vs canned green beans. I much prefer the garden green beans. I love the taste of them. I can't wait till it's that time again.

June 27, 2006 12:11 PM  

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