A Mind of One’s Own


Credit: National Institutes of Health.

I’ve written about my father a few times in this blog. It’s time to give my mother some attention.

My mom is 91, and she and my dad are still together, living in a memory care facility in the Twin Cities area. When my brothers and I moved our parents from my city to their current home last fall, I inherited a hope chest, of sorts, in which my mother stored blankets.

Once I got home and was cleaning it out, I discovered the chest was where she also stored some of her journals. I never knew she kept journals. And to think, all those times I was writing journals and squirreling them away at home, she was doing the same thing!

To ease some of my parental separation pangs, I read her journals, which spanned a period of over thirty years. Recently, I went back into one to look up a piece of information. I found the info, but also got caught by a short comment, where my mother mentioned that an acquaintance of hers complained that my mother was “willful.”

This is true. My mother is the sort who puts her foot down on a decision, and that is that. The problem is, she’s not good at explaining why she made the decision. She makes up her mind, and that is how it is going to be, gall dang it all to heck.

However, instead of her acquaintance’s comment eliciting self-reflection, my mother went on the offensive in her journal. (A good offense is the best defense, right?) But she didn’t go on the offense against the acquaintance who made the comment. Instead, her next entry was a complaint about how I had a mind of my own.

Now, I take that as a compliment. Why would I want anyone else’s mind, anyway? (Smirk.) I suspect my mom wanted my mind to be the same as hers.

Anyone who’s been reading this blog for a while could tell you that I think a bit differently from most. The world needs different viewpoints, and as long as I’m not getting into huge conflicts and arguments over it, I think that’s okay.

The problem is, my mom’s style generates conflict, and she is too stubborn to change her mind once she makes it up.

This all reminds me of something I read recently, which described how people who don’t fit into groups shouldn’t necessarily feel bad. It might mean that they are leaders rather than followers. That gave me some comfort. There have been instances where I’ve felt on the fringes of groups, and maybe that’s why. (Besides the fact that I’m 60% introverted. Grin.) I have also successfully led groups, but it takes a bit of prodding to convince me to do so.

In any event, I love my mother, even if she is willful. And as for myself, I wouldn’t have it any other way than to have a mind of my own.

6 thoughts on “A Mind of One’s Own

    • Interesting! Hey, I think I almost met you recently. I saw someone who looked like you and your wife at the Coop a while back. I was leaving and you were in the produce section. I didn’t have time to pop over and say hi, but maybe next time I will emerge from the fringes and do so.

  1. That’s so cool that you found your mom’s journals! I once found a journal my mom kept, but she had only written a couple entries. I was so disappointed! (I also once found a college journal in which she had written more, but I didn’t read it out of respect for her privacy — I was older at that point — although I got in trouble as if I had read it. Must’ve been juicy stuff! 😉

    • Oh, so you must have gotten caught! I thought twice about reading my mom’s journals. Given the state of her memory (meaning she doesn’t really have one any more) I decided to go ahead because it will help me be part of her memory for her. But it wasn’t like one of those novels where people find very well-written long-lost journals. She talked about events, but not much about feelings. In fact, it was sort of scary, the lack of feelings she had about certain events. She certainly grew up in a different era.

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