What does a parent owe a child, and what does a child owe that parent when these roles are reversed? These are the central questions in Elizabeth Peavey’s heartbreaking and hilarious one-woman show, My Mother’s Clothes Are Not My Mother, which explores the frustrations, tenderness, revelations and humor entailed in caring for an aging parent.

When Peavey’s late mother's condo sells, she's forced to wade through its contents. As she does, possessions - the Polynesian hors d'oeuvre platter, the outdated evening coat, the teacups and the milk glass – trigger memories, causing her to reflect on the often-fraught bond she had with her glamorous mom. Peavey’s “Mad Men”-era childhood is revisited in all its drinky, smoky Technicolor detail, including those giant Kotex pads (“the size of a Barbie mattress”) and the diet candy Ayds (“nothing more than chocolate-covered amphetamines”). When Peavey is in her 20s and her beloved dad dies, she reluctantly spends the next 20 years “playing husband” to her mother. (“Yes, it’s true. I dated my mom.”) Later, we track her mother’s decline and the challenges these transitions presented for both. (“Despite the fact my mother had lost all interest in the dinner hour, she saluted the cocktail hour with the utmost regularity.”) At the play’s end, Peavey confronts how ill prepared she was to care for her mother.

Were either of these women well-suited to the roles thrust upon them? Not really. But, as My Mother’s Clothes reveals, they did the best they could.

My Mother’s Clothes was awarded the 2013 Maine Literary Award for Best Drama.