9.23.2013

SHE CALLS IT CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM

My Mom and I, 1981

It's 1993. I'm acting in a painfully bad play at my high school.  At the intermission, all the actors (including myself) go out into the lobby to visit with our families.  Parents can be heard showering their children with false praises for what is an obviously mediocre (at best) play. I approach my mother and ask her what she thinks so far of the show.  Her response,  "Is that my lamp and rug up there on stage?  I thought it looked like my stuff."  And that was that.

Then there was that time earlier this year when I called my mother to tell her that I had been asked to be the president of the children's organization for our church's congregation.  She replies, "What? That makes no sense.  Is that a new Bishop? Does he even know you? Of all the people, why would he ask you to do that job? I just can't see you doing that at all.  That makes no sense"

Or then there was the time my mom was telling me about an experience she had at church  For the "special" musical number, an older woman sat down to play a piano solo. Before she began, my dad leaned over to my mom and said, "That's going to be Kaci [a very good pianist] when she's older." Then the older woman started to play and when they realized she was not as good as they had expected,  my mom leaned over to my dad and said, "Uh, just kidding, that's more like Cristin when she's older."  Then my mom comes home from church and tells me the whole story so that I can laugh at how funny she and my dad can be at my expense.  Good one, Mom!

Finally, there was that time a little over a week ago when my sister, Caitlin, called my mom, bawling her eyes out, to tell her that she had decided not to do this blog anymore. In typical Mom fashion, she responded, "Oh, Caitlin, stop crying.  It's just a dumb blog.  You could probably go on for months before anyone noticed that you and Kaci had stopped blogging on Cristin's blog. Seriously. This is silly."

Some might call this type of behavior a lack of tact.  My mother calls this "constructive criticism."

I have never doubted my mother's love for me. When I was told four days after Amelia was born that we needed to move out of our home, my mother instantly got in her car, drove from Arizona and packed up my whole house for me so that I could focus on recovering from having a new baby.  Or then there was that other time when she watched my difficult 4 year old for over two weeks so that I could gallivant around Europe with my husband. These are only a few recent examples. She's always been willing to do anything it takes to help me out when I need it.  

When I bring up her, shall we say candid, responses, she usually responds, "Do you want me to be a Paula Abdul or a Simon Cowell?"  I get it.  Watch any of those television talent shows.  When the Paula Abdul-type judge makes a comment, nobody takes it seriously.  However, when the Simon Cowell-type judge has something nice to say its very important and everyone listens,  That's what happens when your compliments are few and far between. My mother makes a good point.  I do value her honesty.  I have just learned that in a conversation with my mom, if I want false compliments, I need to look elsewhere, because she's not going to give me any.  

That's why I know that when my mom gives me the greatest compliment you can give in our family - "I want YOU to care for me in my old age" - I can honestly say, "Aw, shucks, Mom, really? You want me to change your bed pan and give you sponge baths?! That's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me!" because I know she really really means it.

I love you, Mom!


7 comments:

  1. Can't. Stop. Laughing.
    Love it. Love her!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You still have time to change the title to something more catchy, and let's face it, more accurate. I've never used that phrase "Constructive Criticism." Nope. Oxymorons are not in my vocabulary. I won't give an opinion on the rest of the post. At least not right now.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh, my goodness, she sounds just like my grandma.
    And this is a little off-topic, but Caitlyn isn't going to blog anymore? What about Kaci? I was having fun getting to know them-but even if they are quitting the blog life (which I can TOTALLY understand), PLEASE tell me that you'll keep writing, at least-I don't think my heart can handle it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Is your mom related to Dr. Laura? :) You are very tough and wise to appreciate that honest people are not usually pain-free. I'm still trying to learn that.

    ReplyDelete
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