A Visit from Mum

My mother is coming to spend the week. She lives across town in a cottage behind my sister’s house so the trip doesn’t require a passport, shots or much pre-planning. Mostly what has to happen before she gets here is head stuff. My head.

My mother and I have had a loving but volatile history. We are very much alike; and as everyone knows, that’s a recipe for trouble between moms and their daughters. While we have had many long and profound conversations about life, death, children, love, work – all the things that matter, we have also had blazing, wild west fights about who said what to whom and when, the length of my skirts, the correct way to set the table and whether it is emotionally wise to watch network news during an election season. The list of what has set us off goes on and on.


Photo of Diva and Lex

Diva and Lex

A current source of strife is her small, very small, dog. Molly has endearing qualities but they are mostly lost on me because I am a big dog person and have happily shared space with Dobermans, German Shepherds, Labs, Irish setters and Kerry Blue Terriers. Right now Diva the Dobie and Lex the Lab are our dogs, and while Lex is fine with Molly – you’ve got to love that mellow lab personality — Diva is disturbed by the little dog’s presence. All she wants to do is make friends and figure out if this is really a dog or some second similar species; but Molly won’t permit even the most decorous sniff. She goes for Diva’s ankles, snapping and yapping and the poor girl ends up on our bed, pointy black ears down, alone.


Mom is very fond of Diva but she frets about Molly in a way that makes my siblings and me feel we were neglected as children because we never got anywhere near this kind of attention. She admires Molly, she fusses over her fear of Doberman pinchers, she feeds her at precisely the same time every day, she dotes on her every malodorous breath. Molly is a flawless creature.


I realize suddenly: Is it possible that I’m jealous of this dog? Good Grief.




Photo of Molly looking down the stairs

Molly faces the stairs

Diva, Lex and Molly have settled their differences without the aid of Hilary Clinton or John Kerry. The first night they circled each other for a couple of hours and Diva took to her bed. The next morning all was well. Molly hasn’t mastered the stairs yet but we’re working on it. Last night was the only dust-up. We’d been watching television. Mom stood up and so did Diva, thinking it was time for bedtime biscuits. Seeing this, Molly assumed Diva was going to attack Mom so she (Molly) attacked Diva (preemptive strike) which brought Lex into it. He wasn’t going to let any eight inch imitation dog attack his best friend. Mom smacked Molly on the head and everyone stood down. I have to admit, Molly’s growing on me.


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