If you asked whether my mom and I were close, that would be a tough question. I love my mom but I will never be one of those people who say "My mom is my best friend! I tell her everything."
My answer would have to be that a carefully edited version of me is close to my mom. My three sisters and I all feel the same. I can't count the number of things my sisters have told me that begin with the caveat "Don't tell this to mom."
Here's the problem: my mother has such a carefully cultivated and stubborn naivete that she seems fragile and easily shocked, even after 80 years of life. She truly has the cultural sensibilities of a fundamentalist church lady, except without the dogmatic religious part.
Here's a perfect example: she doesn't like many movies. There is always too much sex, too much violence, too much of something. When "On Golden Pond" came out, I recommended it to her. Old people. Boats. Family drama. What could be wrong with that?
Too much swearing. My mother didn't like On Golden Pond because of Henry Fonda's salty use of language.
Another example: back when humorous bumperstickers were very popular, we were sitting around at a family event and tossing out our favorites. Mom piped up "I like that one that says 'Save a tree - eat a beaver.'"
Everyone sat there in stunned silence. No one dared meet each other's eyes because we knew we wouldn't be able to stop laughing if we started.
"What?" she said. "I think it's cute."
She did not get it then, and probably never will, because we ain't gonna explain it to her. Not our job.
So while I think I have had a fairly standard life, there are things I hide from Mom, even as I perch here in middle age. It just isn't worth it to turn over all those rocks and show her what wiggles beneath. It's not that I have a lot to hide. But because of mom's determined disapproval of popular culture, I would have a lot of explaining to do and I just don't have the energy.
The other day mom said "So your sister P. said she saw your naked picture on the Internet."
"GAH????" I thought. "P. knows about Red Stapler???" I knew that my sis Janet visits my blog, but she is under strict instructions not to spread the word about my blog to the rest of the fam.
"She said she saw it at that other place you have besides your food blog," mom said.
I was in full panic mode. Then I remembered. Flickr.
I breathed. Then got mad.
"It's not naked! Why is she telling you there are naked pictures of me on the internet? It's just my head and shoulders."
"Oh, she said you must have a towel on or something but you couldn't see it."
I didn't have the heart to tell her that nope, I was walking around naked taking pictures of myself. No towel in sight. That's the kind of weirdo I am.