My mother loathes cooking. Always has. That said, she's an amazing cook, something we are reminded of three times a year -Thanksgiving, Easter and Christmas. She just couldn't give a rat's ass if you were starving, she hates cooking and that's the story of it.
Ergo, there were a lot of meals eaten out for us.
In Southern families we don't have dinner. We have supper and that happens at three, or at least it always has for me. Another fixed fact of these meals out with my mother was her reminding me to bring a book as we walked out the door. If one of us were in need of a new book, there was a trip to the store, no exceptions. Reason being, we don't talk over the meal.
We're glad for the company, but there's always been this element to our relationship where words would just muck the whole damned thing up.
There's a weird paradox to this, though. For as little as we talk, there is definitely an exact expectation for how my mother wants me to be, the person she needs me to be and it's walking razor wire sometimes trying to discern exactly who that is. I must be feminine, but never weak. I must be intelligent, but never gloat. I must be shrewd, but never a shrew.
I. Must. Never. Let. Them. See. Me. Flinch.
I know when I fail in that ideal, I shame not only her opinion of me, but of her opinion of how good a mother she is.
The idea kills. I have amazing parents. They're hard-nosed and hard working and they've broken their fingers and backs over the years providing for their kids. Their respect is bottom line to me. My biggest fear is being their fuck up.