Tuesday, February 25, 2014

To Everything There Is A Season

Thanksgiving 2012 marked the first time in several years all six siblings in my family, along with their own families, were together in one spot.

It was a beautiful blue day on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and cousins big and small raced along the tangled shoreline in a backyard game of football, while the shiny, yellow sun skimmed diamonds across the water and skipped after them in its own sparkling version of Hopscotch. Iridescent ribbons of children’s laughter drifted in the open windows and rippled throughout the little red rancher my grandfather built 40 years ago on a small, hidden lot tucked up tight against the Chesapeake Bay.

We knew this would be the last time we celebrated this holiday with our family intact. My mother had just been diagnosed with advanced cancer and we were leaning on each other to make sure this day was wonderful enough to befit such a cruel distinction.

We had cancelled our dinner reservations at a beach hotel when my mother grew too tired for the excursion. As a group we moved into overdrive to create a holiday meal for 20 in only a few hours. I think we all appreciated the distraction such a challenge presented, and a whirlwind of shopping, chopping, coordinating and cooking quickly ensued. Bowls, bags, plates and platters crowded the countertops and tabletops, overflowing the tiny center kitchen and spilling into the dining room before being carried away on paper plates by eager hands into the brown-paneled family room. We had a lot of everything on the menu that day, but only two items were truly necessary: My mother’s bread stuffing and her favorite country ham. I smile when I remember how her grandchildren made sure she had plenty of both piled high on her plate. And I smile when I remember how much my mother smiled that day.

After dinner, my mother asked us to clear out her storage unit and take anything we might like to keep. The rest of it would be discarded. None of us had enthusiasm for the task of sorting through the stacks of crushed cardboard boxes and towers of barely contained chaos. But as we unwrapped each memory and unearthed the long forgotten treasures from our youth, we found ourselves releasing staccato bursts of excitement. Each school photograph, handmade Christmas ornament, dented basketball trophy and beloved, broken Fisher Price toy helped fill the jagged hole recently ripped into our lives. 

It wasn’t long before I became overwhelmed and overloaded. The stagnant air in the tiny compartment grew thick, and the already fraying strings heroically holding up my shoulders finally broke, releasing them to fall with a shudder. I clutched a few brittle and yellowed mementos I knew would fit in my carry-on luggage and gingerly stepped over the rusted threshold of corrugated metal onto the hard, dry dirt of abandoned farmland.

It hurt to see all those bits and pieces of our childhood, our family history, unceremoniously condensed to fit inside a cold cement closet locked behind a colorless garage door. But at least it was all in one place. It didn’t escape me that as the six of us were reminiscing about Christmas mornings, birthdays, and summer vacations, we were actively dismantling our shared past once and for all.

I shoved the acidic thought down into my roiling stomach and angled my foot to nudge the protruding corner of a broken box the color of mud. It didn’t budge and I resisted the urge to kick it. My mother had packed this box with her careful hands and practiced patience. I would unpack it the same way. 

I pulled back the cardboard flap and glimpsed a small patch of lemon yellow wicker. I knew immediately what it was. I felt lightheaded as the memories overcame me in one big rush of awareness. It was as if a ghost, freed at last from its musty confinement, had grabbed my arm and yanked me into a wormhole, spinning me backwards in time to a place where parents lived forever.

That plain, brown box humbly housed all of my mother's handbags, perfectly preserved and sleeping comfortably between delicate layers of aging tissue paper. I knew these purses. They were lost friends. I could easily recall every one of them in clearest detail along with the evenings they represented, decades before, when I was still a young girl and my mother was Cinderella.

Back then, I’d sit on my parents’ bed and leisurely investigate the contents of that night's designated clutch while my mother arranged herself inside the bold blocks and psychedelic swirls of the 70s or, later on, the sparkling sequins and impressive shoulder pads of the 80s. I’d dab lipstick on the back of my hand and peel off a peppermint from a new roll of Certs as she clipped on glittering earrings and stepped purposefully through a puff of perfume. 

"That way you won't overwhelm the guests with the scent," she'd advise.

Sometimes my mother would let me trip across the room in her high heels, with a floppy hat covering one eye and a dangling purse bumping my shin with every other step.

I’d revel in having my mother all to myself; my brothers finding no interest whatsoever in the process of powder and polish. Absent was the constant commotion that accompanied a house filled with kids. Here there was only Calm, with gentle smiles, relaxed “grown-up” conversation, and a little bit of bibbity-bobbity-boo. The fragrance, colors and piles of pretty things all mounted together to transform this morning’s mother into tonight’s princess.

I ran my fingertips over the various textures tucked inside the box. I remembered vividly the clatter of the bright orange plastic beads and the scratch of the turquoise raffia. I had told my mother to reserve the maroon handbag for Midnight Mass because the rows of crimson-painted, wooden balls looked like cranberries lining up for a garland. All we needed was popcorn, a needle and some thread. 

I had been hesitant to hold, in my clunky, adolescent fingers, the particularly magical creations that gleamed like jewels. A gold one moved like molten lava from palm to palm and a blue metallic mesh design twinkled from cobalt to teal to midnight depending on where the light slid across it. One bag was dressed in nothing but pearls, one after the other ... surely a treasure like this was much more valuable than anything you could hide inside!

I had used the sunny yellow “picnic basket” to carry snacks for backyard luncheons with my friends. One warm afternoon I swung it in big, windmill circles until the dizzy handle finally had enough of my shenanigans and snapped. The streaming wicker arched out of my hand in a soaring bid for flight, only to smack full force into the trunk of a pine tree and fall to the grass with a dull thud. I thought I had destroyed it for good, but here it was, almost 35 years later, waiting patiently for our reunion in a lonely storage unit in the middle of nowhere. It had held up better than I had, the still-broken strap glibly reminding me in my mother's voice to always treat other people’s things with respect and to think before I act.

In January of 2013, I displayed a group of my mother’s purses in the Boston Museum of Science Who Collects exhibit. My mother got a kick out of seeing her old "pocketbooks" in a museum. She smiled when I told her they were displayed directly beneath a collection of vintage “air-sick” bags. She was sitting up in her hospital bed when I showed her the pictures and she exclaimed softly, "Oh, my word." 

Author’s note: 

The purses remain on display today, fourteen months later.

I occasionally receive messages and pictures from readers who happened across the exhibit on their visits to the museum. It makes me happy to know they had my mother in their thoughts that day. The display is the perfect memorial to my mother’s sense of style and her love of all things beautiful.

By the way, the “barf bags” are long gone and a quaint collection of cows currently grazes above my mother’s pocketbooks. I know she would approve.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Great Divide

Motherhood is like anything else; it’s all in how you look at it. I can obsess over my failures and embarrassing gaffes … or I can share what I've learned and laugh when I get to the good parts. I always choose the answer that includes laughter. I’m not the only one.
In her book, Letter to my Daughter, Maya Angelou writes about a dinner party she attended on her first visit to Sengal at the home of a famous actress. She noted that as the elegant guests milled around the opulent room, they all carefully avoided a luxurious Persian rug laid out in the middle of the floor. Not one person walked or stood on it.
Angelou became appalled for her fellow guests. She could not believe her hostess would place an object above her guests’ comfort and convenience. So she stepped right onto that rug and proudly “walked back and forth several times.” The guests ”smiled at her weakly.” Angelou confidently smiled back, chin held high, hoping they might also be “encouraged to admit that rugs were to be walked on.”
As soon as Angelou moved off the rug, servants removed it and replaced it with another exquisite floor covering. They quickly covered this new rug with glittering place settings, food and wine.
You guessed it. Angelou had been proudly strutting all over her hostess’ tablecloth

Lucky for us, Angelou was gracious enough to share her teaching moment:
"In an unfamiliar culture, it is wise to offer no innovations, no suggestions, or lessons.”

This got me thinking. My sons are fourteen-year-old boys.  I am a more-than-14-year-old woman. I can tell you with great certainty that not much is familiar as I attempt to navigate their teenage world. Our cultures are continents apart.
Have I ever assumed their tablecloth was a rug and walked all over it?
We are all busy weaving our own, unique creations to be admired and judged, appreciated and enjoyed. My own fabric contains parts that are simply glorious and sections that are sloppy and unsightly. Those areas have threads sticking out and ragged edges and great big gaping holes. They were rushed, fumbled, lazily constructed. But it’s not finished yet, so I don’t worry.
I know my boys are busy working their own looms. I see when stitches are crooked or colors are bleeding. I know when patterns are all wrong, turned askew, with distorted proportions. As a parent I want to step in with corrections, and many times I must … that is my job, right? But if I hang back to see what’s trailing behind them, I see a beautiful, glittering work of art that has somehow come together perfectly. Just the way it was meant to, I suspect.
Maybe I shouldn’t worry so much when they drop a stitch or two. I know I should give them more freedom. What I see as mistakes could be expressions of who they are, or at the very least a documentation of their journey, all of it ... the fabulous and the flawed ... in full Technicolor triumph. Who am I to stomp across their designs?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Flying Purple People Eater

I was flying from Boston to Virginia Beach to be with my mother for her first radiation treatment, the second line of defense against her advanced cancer. The front line troops had already fallen when she proved unable to tolerate chemotherapy and so we were particularly apprehensive about this new plan of attack.

I chose an insanely early morning flight so I would arrive in time to help her prepare. However, my 30-minute layover at BWI morphed into 10 hours in the three, lousy, soul-sucking minutes it took me to miss my connection. I remember staring at the fluorescent orange ring on the gate agent’s thumb as he held out my new boarding pass, absurdly suggesting I accept the unwanted seat on the traitorous flight that would deliver me to my mother eight hours after her treatment.

I never cry in public. I barely cry in private … unless I’m watching that hospital scene in Steel Magnolias where Mrs. Lincoln reads Cosmo to a comatose Julia Roberts … or that hospital scene in She’s Having a Baby where Kevin Bacon thinks his wife, the spirited Countess of Grantham, has died in childbirth.

Come to think of it, give me any hospital scene on Lifetime and I’m pretty much toast. But I never cry in public. So I can’t explain my reaction that day.

But I’ll try.

One minute I was wondering if thumb rings were a thing now, and the next, my body went rogue. My chin took on a life of its own. Like Jello on steroids, it wiggled and jiggled in what I can only imagine was a desperate attempt to detach itself from my face. At the same time, my eyes blew up like twin puffer fish poofed to capacity. Flakes of my “waterproof” Clinique mascara tumbled in the turbulent white water rapids crashing down my swelling cheeks, careened off my jawline, and came to rest in a rising pool inside the collar of my fleece pullover … which, by the way, I had slept in the night before in a futile effort to save valuable minutes getting dressed that morning so I wouldn’t  … miss. my. flight.

But I digress.

Apparently disgusted by the overblown dramatics of my face, my nose up and left like a deadbeat dad heading out for cigarettes and a carton of milk. In its place was my bathroom faucet, opened all the way and efficiently dumping torrents of hot salty liquid onto the slope of my upper lip where it hung for a brief, hopeful moment before dropping onto the rotating blades of my chin and shooting outward to land in slimy splats all over a group of unfortunate tourists (who learned a very valuable lesson that day about respecting a stranger’s personal space.)

I tried to speak but was limited to one mangled vowel sound per expulsion of jagged breath. My steamed eyeglasses provided me a hazy view of the horrified attendant now frozen in the awesome wake of my sudden transformation from traveler to travesty. Somehow I managed the words “mother” and “dying” … which now horrified ME, because “dying,” or any of its derivatives, was strictly prohibited from entering the room where my words were kept. How did it sneak in? How did it get out?  And Holy Hulking Toblerone, Batman, was I crying?

Please, Mrs. Kerman.”

I turned my leaking face towards the sound.

“We placed you on stand-by for an earlier flight. Please go to gate A13.”

The “please” was a true plea, beseeching me … please, oh please, oh snot-radiating lady, please go to Gate A13 where we will have MPs awaiting your arrival.

I grabbed the ticket and made a beeline, Mr. Magoo-style, for the nearest restroom. I stared in amazement at the creature in the mirror. My skin was a mottled, magenta mess covered in raised hives in various shades of white, brown and neon pink. My swollen eyes were indistinguishable from the rest of my face except for two barely discernible slashes of black, as if they were hastily drawn in with a fine-point Sharpie.

I was the Purple People Eater.

I took a deep breath and held it the way my mother taught me to do in times of stress. “I can do this,” I thought, and I slowly released it.

I determinedly trudged the concourse, ignoring the wide-eyed toddler hiding from me behind the neck pillows at Hudson News, and the gawking teenager blatantly recording my trail of tears with his You-Will-Soon-Be-On-YouTube phone. I stayed focused and pointed my oscillating chin towards Mecca, Gate A13.

The agent saw me coming and braced for impact. He was an airline supervisor and he had been forewarned. He was a slight, middle-aged fellow, with warm brown skin, black hair and earnest eyes. He came towards me with his arms outstretched and upon arrival grasped both my hands in his own.

“What is the matter,” he asked in an almost musical lilt. “Are you afraid of flying?”

No, I thought. I’m afraid of landing.

And there it was. I realized I was afraid to see my mother. I hadn’t seen her in almost a month. A month where powerful poisons had been pumped up her arm and almost killed her. A month where her hair fell out and her voice grew weak and she had been moved to a nursing home. A month where her beloved books were closed in drawers because she could no longer absorb the words.

A month where she asked the priest to hear her confession … and he gave her Last Rights, just in case.

The airline placed me on the next available flight and seated me in the front row so they could keep an eye on me. But I still missed my mother’s appointment.

I stood in the doorway to her room as she finished her lunch served in pink plastic-domed dishes. She sat on the edge of her bed, braced her slippered toes against the linoleum floor and slowly rolled the wood-veneered tray table away from her. She took a deep breath and held it.

So did I.

She turned her head and saw me.  

I whispered a wobbly, “Hi, Mom.”

She cried.

I walked over, bent down, and hugged her. I can still feel that embrace. The warmth of it, the shape of it, the softness of it.

It's that hospital scene that makes me cry the hardest.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Home Body

2013 was not a great year for me. It was the year my mother died. I thought I’d be so happy to finally count down the last seconds of that year. Instead, I was blindsided by panic.

2014 will be the first year of my life in which my mother won’t exist. Not physically, anyway. This New Year severed one of the few remaining connections I had to my mother, hurling me into a space and time where I found myself grasping for air and desperately searching for somewhere safe to land my feet. This will be the first full year without my mother. The realization was yet another Band-Aid ripped off, another punch in the gut. It’s a wonder I have any skin left and can keep down solid food.

I think on some level I knew this year would be a rocky road because I had already made some big changes to ease the way, the biggest of which was to leave my job. Although I had tossed about a handful of very valid reasons to support my abrupt decision, I won’t pretend it wasn’t a direct result of my mother’s death. I had spent the last few months of her life flying back and forth between Boston and Virginia; between job and Mom. By the end of it all, I found I could no longer justify spending more time away from my family than I spent with them. I was walking around with a strong awareness that everyone I loved could die; would die. In my grief I was afraid that each time I spoke to my father would be the last. I had already lost one parent. Losing the other was no longer unthinkable; it was inevitable. Even as the earth began to warm itself after a long New England hibernation, I could fathom only endings, no beginnings. Like that blindingly bright morning when it suddenly dawned on me I had only five summers and Christmases left with my boys before they expanded their wings and dreams and launched themselves into adulthood. Yes, I was in the thick of it alright. Grief was my go-to guy for all things future.

I admit my decisions were driven by regret and fear and loss, all of them very dark passengers. But at the end of that grim road trip I found myself at home, and it was exactly where I needed to be.

I’m at home now when my boys walk through the door after school, hungry and disheveled and oh so big. I go to their basketball games on Wednesday afternoons. I make dinner using pots and pans and cutting boards. I monitor homework and help manage their ridiculously hectic eighth grade days. My husband works from home and I work with him. We hold hands and go for morning walks through Coolidge Corner. We see matinees and have lunch dates.

I close myself off in the sunroom when I need alone time and drown in a book, or click on my laptop, or cry as I listen to Christmas carols without my mom. I curl up in the sun like a cat and conjure up the illusive scent of my mother's rose garden. I remember and grieve and heal. I’m a body in motion, a body at rest, a home body.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

It's a Wonderful, Wonderful Helmet

On the first Sunday of every December we go to church, have breakfast while our children attend religious education class (Thank you, religious education class), and then head to the Christmas tree farm to pick out our tree. Last year, we channeled our inner Chevy Chase and chose two trees that we spent the rest of the day dressing up in their glittery, holiday best.
The smaller, neater tree was draped in classy white lights and flaunted our collection of White House ornaments, fragile adornments from Lenox and Waterford, and the treasured ornaments annually gifted to us by my mother. This regal tree vainly preened in the corner of our sunroom where at night the white lights reflected off the many windows turned pitch black by the winter night sky. The effect was a swirly, distortedly magical scene plucked from a Van Gogh canvas.
In our family room loomed a massive, towering pine wrapped in rainbows and entombed in miles of iridescent red and gold tinsel ropes. This admittedly gaudy tree stood like a proud grandmother, so very honored to wear more than ten years worth of construction paper, Elmer’s glue and glitter fastidiously fashioned by little fingers into precious keepsakes. Jagged cut-out heads from old school photographs are now the grinning faces of handmade reindeers, Santas, elves and oddly enough, one exceedingly charming Christmas platypus. This is the tree we sit around and enjoy still-warm sugar cookies with green and red stained fingers; and where my husband reads "The Night Before Christmas" every Christmas Eve in a dramatic and bellowing baritone.
For the first four years we lived in this house, the family room was empty of furniture and primarily used as a holiday room. For a few weeks a year it was dominated by a fireplace mantle overly embellished with a tangle of colorful lights and various garlands, a quaintly lit Christmas village, and nine stockings greedily strung out for our little family of four. But this holiday, my husband surprised me with two cozy wingback chairs—perfect for reading in front of the fire—and an elegant sofa chosen for its beautiful love-knot patterned fabric.
My husband and I don’t usually exchange gifts for Christmas. We typically just fill each other’s stockings with books and magazines from CVS and maybe a few fancy chocolates or a new deodorant stick. But not this year. That man had just given me a NEW PLACE TO READ! The pressure was on. He deserved way more than John Grisham and Right Guard.
I remembered a few days back when he showed me on Ebay a vintage Patriots helmet from the 1970s that belonged to Steve Nelson, whose jersey numer 57 had been retired. My husband has a thing for Pat the Patriot and he had fallen head over helmets for that hard hat. The auction was newly listed and the price was sure to go sky high, so he dismissed it and moved on. Well, I revisited the auction when it had only a few hours left and the price hadn’t increased at all. I put in a bid and checked it 30 minutes before the auction ended. Mine was still the high bid! In a giddy rush to hedge my bet, I increased my maximum bid by $100 in case a last minute bidder came to play.
I called my husband downstairs to keep him busy for the next 20 minutes and to make sure the auction didn’t re-cross his mind. Afterwards I checked the computer. With 1 minute and 16 seconds left, my original bid was still reigning. My husband was going to be thrilled. I straightened some ornaments on the tree and turned back to the computer. The auction was over… and I had been outbid!
What the fu ... dge?
I walked upstairs and found my husband grinning like a Cheshire elf.
“I won,” he whooped.
It seemed my husband, with all the stealth and strategy of a fat man in a red suit sneaking down a chimney, had logged onto Ebay with 33 seconds left in the auction and placed the winning bid. Without realizing it, he had outbid his wife by $106 to win his own Christmas present.
As his gift that year, I didn't tell him.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Published in the Woven Tale Press!

Hello All!

I'm very proud to have been published in the latest edition of The Woven Tale Press, a monthly e-magazine created by author Sandra Tyler. 

This particular article is about a dear childhood friend and our re-connection after 25 years at my mother's funeral. I hope you enjoy it and the beautiful magazine, which highlights an eclectic mix of art and editorial found across the web.

Have a great week, my friends.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Married A Red Sox Fanatical

When you marry a native Red Sox fan, your life changes forever.

When you marry a native Red Sox fan and the Sox make it to the World Series, your world explodes.

I grew up in Virginia, the great state of no team in particular, and so I never followed team sports. But when I married into Red Sox Nation, I no longer had that option.

My husband moved our twin babies and me to his homeland of Massachusetts in 2002 when “the Curse” was still in power. One of the first things we did was walk into Fenway Park and choose between the last two pair of available seats for season ticket purchase. I was sporting my brand new, bright-red Lands End coat that guaranteed warmth in weather as frigid as -34 degrees. It was a massive piece of insulated architecture that weighed a ton. I was wearing a Hyundai. Still, it did the trick and I wore it whenever it was cold outside, which was September through May. So on that day, as I attempted to back my rear bumper into the 15-inch, 91-year-old seats, my husband cruised from one end of the stadium to the other testing the sightlines until he finally made his choice. We were officially season ticket holders.

That year the Sox made it to the ALCS Championship against the damn Yankees. The night of Game 7, the Sox were in New York; my husband was in our bedroom pacing in front of the TV; and the babies were blessedly sleeping. That meant I had a good 3 or 4 hours to enjoy my favorite activity: Peace.

The object of this game was to go downstairs and see what my house looked like with no one in it. I’d sit at the kitchen counter and absorb the nourishing silence like the roots of my one surviving houseplant on the days I remembered to water it. I’d wander from room to room as if I was at a Sunday Open House, viewing a world that wasn’t really mine. Here, I could light scented candles without fear of little ones getting burned. I could read more than two sentences in a row, or simply close my eyes on the couch without someone yanking my hair and demanding snacks or Band-Aids. Oh, how I was beginning to love sports.


The shout came from upstairs … only the word wasn’t actually “muck”.

“Muck, Muck, MUCK!”

My eyes snapped open and all that serenity popped like the bubbles in my much-anticipated bath that were rapidly swirling down the drain.

 “Ssshhhh!” I hissed, rushing up the stairs, “Don't mucking wake the babies.”

A glance at the TV screen showed the Sox beating the Yankees by 3 in the bottom of the eighth.

“What’s wrong? They’re winning.”

“They’re about to muck it up,” he growled.

“Oh for goodness sake,” I chirped, “You know they’re going to win.”

Wrong. Thing. To. Say. My husband’s head swiveled my way and daggers shot out of his eyes.

“Why would you say that?! You just jinxed us!”

I rolled my eyes ... and a few minutes later the Yankees tied the game. Then, in the tenth inning, something very bad happened and a very happy Yankee jogged leisurely around the bases to score.

In official sports-speak, that little round-a-bout was called a walk-off home run and apparently I caused it. I also caused Grady Little to keep Pedro pitching way past his prime, which resulted in Aaron Boone hitting said walk-off homer to win the ALCS Championship. I somehow managed all this while standing in my bedroom, 200 miles from Yankee Stadium, wielding nothing but a mucking, positive attitude.

Trust me when I tell you my house was no longer peaceful.

A decade later, my family still refers to that game as the “Adrienne Game.” Grady Little, Bill Buckner and I have learned the same lesson the hard way: Boston never forgets.

Stay tuned for Part Two, in which the babies become teenage superfan fanaticals; our two seats become four seats, and the Red Sox make the 2013 World Series. We’re off to Fenway now for Game 6, where I promise not to say anything good about the Sox … wish me luck ... 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Pecking At My Reflection

When we bought a house in the city, we certainly didn't think we'd get Butterball's corporate offices in our back yard. But, hey, I guess they gotta gobble somewhere. Did you know turkeys hang out in trees? Waaaaay up in trees ... and they don't like it if you play basketball beneath them. They issue a warning that sounds like my 86-year-old grandfather battling his reflux after a nice, big Thanksgiving dinner. Also, turkeys swoop. And they are MASSIVE when they spread their wings, like a nightmarish pterodactyl ... guaranteed to take a few years off your life. But all in all they're pretty harmless, as long as you don't cross a pumped up male during mating season. Then you better get out the carving knife and some cranberry sauce ... cause it's you or him.

It cracks me up when one literally comes knocking at our door. At first my boys wanted to open the door, and even I considered it for a crazy moment, before I remembered… turkeys can be mean. We realized the ol' bird didn’t want to visit with us, he was merely pecking at his reflection in the glass… probably in aggression or possibly in frustration that the “other” turkey wasn’t responding to him. THAT I understand. There are times I have BEEN this turkey—pecking and pecking at my reflection—with no results or meaningful connection; nothing to show at all for my efforts except a massive headache.  
I’ll explain. 
I have twin sons. One is just like me… barring the obvious difference in our genders of course. Other than that, we’re the same. We think the same; we vice the same; we move through life the same. Our hearts are forever on our sleeves; we want to please. Words affect us more than others. We’re sensitive, dammit.  
We’ve got each other’s back with a loyalty that’s rock solid. I tell you, I’ve got a diehard champion in that one. He has my heart but he drives me up-a-wall-and-down-the-other-side bonkers. He’s stubborn, like me, and no more so than when we clash. We can crash against each other like waves against a rocky shore. When I see him impulsively making the same mistakes I made as a child I want to scream at him to STOP. And I usually do. And he screams right back. We’re too alike to communicate effectively at these times, and we often end up at loggerheads.  
During these episodes, I might as well be banging my head against my image in the thick glass door. In fact, that’s eactly what my husband tells me when he steps in and takes over, pulling me out of the ring kicking and screaming. “Give it up,” he’ll calmly suggest. “You’re just pecking at your reflection.” 
Did he just call me a turkey? 
He should talk, he’s got his own little doppelganger. My other son is my husband’s Mini-Me. He is the spitting image of him inside and out. And as we’ve already learned the hard way, that can make for some incredibly frustrating struggles in communication. After an especially exasperating evening of locking horns with his diabolical double, I might find my husband pacing in his office: 
“My dearest wife,” he’ll say to me. “Oh how I love you, but I must leave you now and jump head-first through this third floor window. Remember me well.” 
“Fret not, my love,” I’ll say as I tug on his ankles and yank him back onto the hardwood floor where he slumps in defeat. “I got this one.” 
And I do. For this child and I connect so easily. We exist on an even plane together … smooth sands … level trekking. Easy, breezy, beautiful. He and I … we’re like butter. 
I find it so ironic that I gave birth to identical twins and yet they are each spot-on the personality of a different parent. To remain sane, my husband and I created a sort of parenting tag team to accommodate those differing dispositions. We relieve each other at crucial moments to make sure we’re never banging our heads against the glass door for too long.
We’ll leave that to the turkeys.