Perhaps it's because my friend's mother died last week, but I was thinking about my own mother as I was walking this morning. It was Mom and "aprons" that popped into my mind.
When my mother became a 4-H leader when I was a kid, she paid close attention to the annual dress reviews, when all the 9-18 year-old girls in the county modeled the clothes they had made for a panel of judges. Nine-year-olds made and modeled aprons, and she noticed that the bright, solid colored aprons stood out more on the stage than the printed aprons. So she encouraged the girls in her club to make bright colored aprons and to wear white dresses for the dress review.
What happened? Every year the nine-year-olds in our club won a disproportionate number of awards in the dress review.
Mom had an ability to look at things from the point of view of the audience, whether it was dress reviews, plays she directed, parties she planned, or exhibits she organized. If there's anything I inherited from her, I think it is a bit of that talent.
I can say that now, but until I was well into adulthood, I truly believed that I hadn't inherited any of my mother's talents. Everyone said that I took after my dad and my sister took after my mother. I never questioned that, though I was sad not to be at all like Mom. Then I read the book My Mother, Myself. Early in the book, the author tells how, for years, she always cut one end off a roast before she put it in the oven to cook. Finally, someone asked her why she did that, and she realized it was because her mother always had. She called her mother and asked why. Her mother told her that her roaster was too small, so she always hacked off one end of the roast to fit it into the pan.
Somehow, that book opened my eyes to the fact that it's really impossible for daughters not to be like their mothers. I started thinking about how I always grab Kuner's brand kidney beans when I buy them, how I never buy cheap dish soap because Mom told me that it's not a good idea, how I tend to pick my battles carefully, going after only what really matters to me. I started paying attention to the things I love to do and realized how often they are the things Mom loved to do.
And, you know, if I were a 4-H leader observing dress reviews today, I truly believe that I would notice exactly the same things my mother did. I, too, would soon have little girls wearing white dresses and brightly colored aprons, just like she did.