Keep or Toss That Mom-ism?

By: Lauren Thaler  |  Date: August 2nd, 2011  |  Category: On Being Parentless  |  Comments: 1 comment »

My mom was a compulsive record keeper. Receipts, bills, lists, post-it notes, you name it – she kept. While I was cleaning out her closets and files in preparation for the sale of her apartment, I found handwritten documentation of a stock portfolio that she owned before I learned to walk and talk.

After the clean-out process was complete, I had collected half a dozen oversized trash bags of paper, dating back to the early 1980’s, that required shredding. At first, it seemed wrong or in some way disrespectful to toss away my mom’s well-organized records, but what was I going to do with a receipt for a sweater purchased at Lord & Taylor in December of 1988?

When she was alive, certain tendencies, like her habitual record keeping, rubbed off on me. I saved all my receipts until my wallet looked like it was about to explode – all the while [...]

Family Blueprint

By: Lauren Thaler  |  Date: July 19th, 2011  |  Category: On Being Parentless  |  Comments: 5 comments »

This is embarrassing. I don’t exactly know how my father died.

I was at a doctor’s appointment last week, and because I was a new patient, I was asked to fill out a bunch of paperwork. Afterward, a nurse walked me through a family history questionnaire. When it was time to share my father’s medical history, I hesitated and then said:

“I know he had a heart attack (that he survived), and I know he was diagnosed with a type of lymphoma (that was treated). I think the cancer came back after several years of remission, and I assume it spread and became incurable.”

My father died when I was 18 months old. I remember my mother talking to me countless times about his death while I was growing up, but the memories are blurry. Retaining information about my father’s cause of death was never a priority. As a kid, just being fatherless [...]

Ode to Arguments

By: Lauren Thaler  |  Date: July 5th, 2011  |  Category: On Being Parentless  |  Comments: 1 comment »

There’s no fight quite like a mother-daughter fight. I’m not talking about the casual squabble over the appropriate length of a skirt or a reasonable highway driving speed. I’m talking about the temperature rising, hoarseness inducing, knockdown, drawn out battles exclusively characteristic of a clash between Mother and Daughter.

Fortunately, as most daughters can attest, the height of the argument bell curve occurs during the hormone-raging years of adolescence. Hearing that there’s no wiggle room in a curfew mandate or not receiving permission to attend “beach week” unchaperoned would send me into a tizzy of melodramatic fits as a teenager. The worst part? My mother’s cool, calm demeanor – which infuriated me even more at the time.

However, that was then. When I entered my twenties, our mother-daughter arguments changed tunes. The overemotional theatrics of my adolescent behavior subsided. My anger had the same intensity, but logic and reasoning guided my actions [...]