Entertainment, Katie McDowell, Life & Leisure

Mothers and daughters are a beautiful thing

Well, I’m back.

For the few people besides my father who regularly turn to this space to read these words, you’ll have noticed I was absent the past couple of weeks.

While I did pack my laptop to pitch in here and there during my 10-day stint in Portugal and Spain, I did not log on long enough to write this column.

That’s because my mom said I was working too much already.

The trip was one of several she and I have taken abroad together in recent years — Greece last time; Italy before that.

It’s a chance to scratch our mutual itch for travel, while offering us an opportunity to spend some quality mother-daughter time.

Not that it’s always smooth sailing — we are, after all, mother and daughter. And I am not exactly the smooth-sailing type. In truth, my general disposition is about as choppy-waters as they come.

Personally, if I were her, I doubt I would attempt it.

But no one knows me better, and still she extends the invitation.

To illustrate: Before we even left, I texted her about an appointment she had here in Morgantown, scheduled for a couple weeks after our return.

“Will you stay with me, or just drive home after?” I asked.

“I think I’ll stay unless Dad wants to come,” she wrote back. “You and I may not be talking to one another.”

“Lol. Fair point,” I conceded.

This was not our first rodeo.

It’s a funny thing, the mother-daughter relationship. On one hand, there’s no one closer.

While the other hand you may want to keep free for stranglin’.

The complexity has kept therapists in business for centuries.

My mom and I are actually pretty lucky. Although my teenage years were a bit fraught, these days we get along rather well.

When we do clash, it’s because of our personality differences — of which there are certainly a few.

For example, she is a an extrovert who loves people and likes nothing better than chatting with strangers in restaurants.

I am a misanthropic introvert who would consume every meal alone and in silence for the rest of my life if I could.

She is blunt and not remotely self-conscious. I live in a perpetual state of mortification over the mere possibility I may say or do the wrong thing.

She gets openly excited about all kinds of new experiences. I tend to be jaded and hard to impress.

I am judgmental, while she … OK, so we’re both judgmental. But at least we admit it.

Fortunately, we have one other thing in common that’s far more palatable — and infinitely more important.

We love each other very much and consider ourselves best friends.

I am incredibly blessed to have her — and grateful she keeps asking me along on these adventures, so we can bicker in beautiful places.

Happy Mother’s Day, everybody.

Call your mom. (And then your therapist, if you need to.)

Katie McDowell is the managing editor and lifestyles columnist for The Dominion Post. Email kmcdowell@dominionpost.com