Jewish World Review Jan. 31, 2003 / 28 Shevat, 5763

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

Mom pushes memories out the door | My mother is up to tricks again. She's trying to move everything out of her house and into mine. She thinks I don't notice.

Last month she asked if I'd like a crystal bowl that she rarely uses anymore. Sure, I'd like the bowl, but if I had said yes to the bowl, then I'd be eligible for a fondue set, a lazy Susan and a deviled-egg plate. Next thing you know, she'd be loading me up with a recliner, a coffee table and an oak armoire she no longer "has room for."

The last time she came to my house she brought cookies in a huge Tupperware cake taker and insisted I keep the container. It's enormous. You could bathe a mature rhino in it.

"Take it back home, Mom. I don't have room for it in my cupboards."

"I have less room than you do," she said.

"You have a basement," I said. "We don't."

"Possession is nine-tenths of the law and it's in your hands now," she said, making a hasty exit.

Last summer when we went to visit Mom and Dad, we borrowed a little cooler of theirs for hauling a six-pack of soda on the trip home. Three times I've tried to return it, and three times they've denied it's theirs. It has their last name printed in big block letters on the bottom, but they claim they've never seen it.

When we were there over Christmas, Mom actually suggested that I take 10 years worth of school yearbooks home with me.

"You're kidding," I said. "Why wouldn't you want to keep those?"

"You may find this hard to believe, but I don't look at your old yearbooks. Frankly, I'd like to get some of this junk, er, stuff out of here. We could use the space for our own things."

"But Mom, I thought I'd always have a place in your heart."

"I've given you a place in my heart. What I'm not giving you is a place on every closet shelf, the basement, the attic and the garage."

"You're kidding. You really don't want all those corsages I saved from the high school dances, my pom poms, picture albums or the tassel from my college mortar board? If I take those things out of here, this room will look like an ordinary guest room. Is that what you want, Mom?"

"Precisely," she said. "By the way, maybe you'd like to take your wedding gown home, too."

I was shocked. "My wedding gown? That baby is sealed in a box the size of a small U-Haul."

"My point, exactly," she said. "Take the back seat out of your van and I'm sure it will fit. You could probably even take your old jewelry boxes home as well."

Now I was really miffed.

"But Mom, I thought you and Dad liked this stuff. I assumed my room would always be a shrine."

"Look, when you married 25 years ago we knew we were losing a daughter, but we assumed we would gain some closet space in the process. It's time for you to live up to your end of the bargain."

"You're saying you want the space more than the memories?"

"You got it, baby. We've got winter clothes to store, party supplies I could fill those drawers with, and holiday wreaths that need some decent storage."

I loaded up some of the treasures and routed them from her house to mine. I left behind a little surprise though. I hope she doesn't trip over the small cooler sitting on the back steps.

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids. To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.

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© 2001, Lori Borgman