To share (since that’s what I do here on Jackson Riley), to be part of my mother’s family, you need:
- The ability to leave your keys in the front door several days in a row. Srsly, the only people to do this at my apartment are me, my mother, and my cousin Andrew. (See this post for more complete picture.)
- An uncanny knack for multitasking. Everything. At once. It doesn’t have to be particularly successful multitasking, but it’s the constant effort that separates us. Microwaving water, grabbing your cell phone, and brushing your teeth. Talking on the phone, writing a note, and straightening up the dining room table. Drinking coffee, checking into your flight, and participating in a discussion on the best way to the airport. (And this was just me this morning.) We are tenacious in our multi-tasking. We relentlessly pursue efficiency. To quote my cousin Andee, “It usually doesn’t work, but when it does, you can look around and realize it’s completely amazing how much you just got done.”
- A perfected decoy smile that means “I heard what you just said, I am nodding my head as if I am listening and agreeing with you, but in reality, I am going to turn around and do this my way because my way is the best way.” This is why Grandma Wanda kept nodding when I told her we needed to keep our hearing aids in and why I kept finding them on the table 3 minutes later. Let’s recap:
“Grams, we need to put in our hearing aids.”
“GRAMS, WE NEED TO PUT IN OUR HEARING AIDS”
A convincingly confused look in my direction.
This may also be the reason why I told my mom I only needed to be to the airport an hour early and I ended up there with an hour and fifty-five minutes to spare. I’m telling you … we only hone our skills with age.
- The belief that we, alone, are the only ones who know how to do things correctly. My family has 32 Chiefs and precisely 0 Indians. Hence the above.
- An obsessive need to organize. Anything on a countertop it adjusted by everyone who comes in. Gram’s kitchen table looks like a complicated Tetris game: everything is exactly square to everything else. This trait may have something to do with #1, but I’m waiting on further scientific evidence.
- Lastly, the ability to laugh quickly and easily. Which is why awkwardfamilyphotos.com made us laugh for hours (um... literally hours), why we are the one giggling in the hallways of the hospital because we’re remembering when my mom straight-up lied about being a lawyer to bust my gramps out of extended care, and why we are – I’m going on record here – absolutely the life of the dining room at my grandmother’s retirement community. It’s tough being us, but somebody’s got to do it.