There is a line during the first or second season of Mad Men when some guy is hitting on Betty Draper and she responds, “I come from a cold people.”
I like think about that line when I am trying to mask all my emotions.
But the truth is, I don’t come from cold people. I come from one cold person. My mom. And I mean that in the nicest way possible.
My mom is as loving and caring as her practical manner will allow. This means that at times, her love hurts: like the time I didn’t make the cheerleading squad and she suggested we go to the store to get me some exercise equipment. It also means that anytime I have ever wanted anything (and the same goes for my sister and brother) my mother will argue all the reasons this is a terrible idea.
For the record, she often doesn’t think it is a terrible idea. She just wants to make sure we know and have considered all the consequences. Even when she doesn’t think it is a good idea, she will support us with her whole being.
When I was looking at my first Bad Boy House, I was actually torn between the Bad Boy and the Eighth Grade Love and I needed to make a decision that night. My mom and I stood in the main bedroom of Bad Boy and she argued the merits of Eighth Grade Love. Finally she came right out and said, “I think you should get the Eighth Grade Love.”
I was crushed and angry and frustrated. “Really? Why?”
She smiled. “Not really. You clearly prefer this house and so you should get this one.”
Again my mom knew exactly what I needed. I took a deep breath and put an offer on the Bad Boy.
Fortunately, I didn’t get it.
Fast forward to the day I learned that the snake-like seller’s agent opted to take a higher offer on my dream house instead of honoring my offer that he’d already accepted, my parents had to come to town. I had spent the morning vacillating between uncontrollable sobs and throwing things around my apartment with rage. I hadn’t found time to get dressed so I met them in my pajamas, rain-boots and puffy coat.
By the time my parents arrived, they already knew the cliff notes version of the story. When they called from the turnpike to tell me they were stuck in traffic due to the snowstorm I yelled at them for being so inconsiderate and making me wait. I then called back crying to apologize to them and tell them I wasn’t mad at them.
My mom got out of the car handed me a blank check, hugged me and returned to the car. It was snowing after all.
I looked down at the check and smiled. My mom had no idea how to fix this, but that check was her way of saying whatever it took, I had her support.
She also refrained from pointing out that I was making a spectacle of myself crying on street corner in pajamas and rain-boots — something I am sure took an incredible amount of will power on her part.
My father, on the other hand, stood with me for several minutes as it snowed, watching me cry and accepting my misplaced anger. He hugged me when I cried and offered me worthless platitudes that I returned with venom and loud words. Then he hugged me again and I started to cry again.
He is where I get all of my emotions I wish I could turn off and so it was only fitting that he was the one that had to stand outside in the cold wishing my tears away.