rowing up with a Jewish mother is a singular experience. And as I get old (my 30s are creeping up on me like my dad's weird aunt at Thanksgiving), I am realizing more and more that I am becoming my mother, or, if not completely morphing into her, at least adopting several of her many neuroses and habits. And you know what? I wouldn't change a thing.
The amount that these habits are predicated on my mom's and my Jewishness is unclear — we could very well just be overly anxious people, but it's nice to think that there's something culturally binding, bigger than our family ties at work here (my dad's Jewish too — it's coming at me from both sides!). It also probably helps that we're from New York.
But these habits aren't limited to liberal, Jewish women from the greatest state in the U.S. I'm willing to bet they're fairly universal. Or you might read them and just think I'm insane. In any case, here's what I've adopted from my amazing ma.
(My mom looks nothing like Sylvia Fine from The Nanny, but I do relate to her and Fran on a molecular level. They might use approximately 3 million percent more hairspray than me or my mom ever has, but their love is true.)
I name everything that I have on me (in my head or honestly, sometimes out loud) before I walk out the door to go anywhere.
Wallet, keys, phone, purse, tissues, gum, hair ties, sunglasses, shopping list, jacket, umbrella, charger, wallet again, keys again, phone again…
You get the idea.
I make everyone text me the moment they arrive safely anywhere.
This applies to friends and family who have just left the safety of my nest or people who I know are heading home in inclement weather. But I’ll take a “Made it home!” text from literally anyone and feel that sweet, sweet relief.
I thoroughly wipe down all cans with a damp paper towel before I open them.
I can’t imagine that no one else does this because the plague is going to come back and it’s going to be from rat feces on the top of canned goods.
While we’re at it, I caress my canned food like a crazy person looking for dents because not today, botulism!
Maybe I should stop buying canned goods. It’s taking a toll.
Speaking of food, I will google any little irregularity I see in my food to make sure it won't kill me.
This I know comes straight from my mother. Once she called poison control after feeding us mashed potatoes because she thought the potatoes were slightly green and that green potatoes might kill us.
Needless to say, we survived.
But it’s true. Chicken’s a teensy bit slimy? Maple syrup’s crusted at the top of the bottle? Why not give it a google? It’s not going to hurt. But eating slimy chicken might!!!