My dad was helping me remake the guest bed at the end of his visit. As I tucked under the corners at the foot of the bed, he began to grumble, "You make a bed just like your mother." (He, apparently, does not like the sheets tightly tucked at the bottom.) My response was, "Of course I do. Who do you think taught me to make a bed?"
My mother is the only person, other than me and including the other people who live in my home, who can locate just about anything in my kitchen. If she ever asks where to find something, I test her and ask, "Where would you put it?" I don't think she's ever answered incorrectly. My kitchen is organized the way my mother would organize it because the first kitchen I knew was hers, and the next several kitchens of my own were organized by her the day I moved in. I do it like she does it, and that's not limited to where I store the plastic wrap.
As I made my mom's pumpkin pie recipe tonight, I reflected upon how much my mom has taught me. Some time ago, I wrote (here) about how I hear my dad's aphorisms reminding me of practical things, like "measure twice, cut once" or "never stand on the top rung of a ladder." I rarely hear my mother's voice instructing me what to do. It's not because she didn't teach me anything. I'm pretty sure it's because she taught me nearly everything else.
Of course, my parents share joint responsibility for the big stuff, for making me into me. However, for the everyday things that I now do mindlessly all the time--keeping this house and family up and running and fed--it was all Mom. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, child care, bill paying...the list goes on and on. With rare exceptions, I do not recall lessons about separating lights from darks or how to make a bed or how much parsley to put in the meatballs. I think I learned first by following her around and then by doing.
However it happened, I am grateful for what I know and grateful that she--without my being aware of it--prepared me to do it all. I'm also rather thankful that she still takes my calls, because apparently I failed a few lessons along the way. Nobody's perfect. Not even Mom or me.