Three little letters with the magical impact to change the world, one little person at a time.
I’m lucky to have my mother as so many of my friends have lost theirs. So, she is still tossing out her wisdom, like so many seeds landing on older soil. But that’s ok. She knows of what she speaks. And I no longer get irritated when she repeats herself as I’ve probably forgotten what she said anyway. Here’s what I remember right this moment:
- She doesn’t speak ill of anyone. If something snarkish is mentioned, she says she is only repeating what my dad said. I assure you, 95% of the time, my dad has zero knowledge of said snarky topic.
- When my sister and I misbehaved, she always said, “You should be ashamed of yourself.” We were, sort of.
- When we were really bad, she said, “Wait until your father comes home.” We were very ashamed for real.
- She always keeps beautifully manicured nails. When acting deplorable as a youngster, said nails appeared at the tender, inside of my right or left arm, a sharp reminder to stop whatever I was doing. Yeeeouchhhhh.
- She does not appear in public, including the breakfast table, without “putting her face on”. She doesn’t need to, she’s beautiful. But old habits die hard.
- She is a world-class cook and renowned salad maker.
- She never called me “fat” when I was, “unattractive” when I was, or “unloveable” when I have been. She has been the Head Cheerleader for my sister and me since birth. She had high expectations for both of us and would not allow us to be wastrels. Trust me, we have both been slackers at times, but not in front of her.
- She only had one bad habit which we believe has been taken care of. She wore hose with sandals. Ick. Not only a fashion faux pas, but she had several incidents of brake slippage while driving in hose with sandals. Our pleading, begging her to stop the madness fell on deaf ears. Until the day she drove her car over the threshold and through my dad’s man cave, stopping her car within inches of my father, who was reclining on the sofa watching a football game. So the hose were forbidden – at least with sandals – forever more. When my grandmother died and my mom, aunt, and uncle were packing up the house, they found a cache of 147 pairs of new pantyhose. It was a short-lived genetic abnormality. Neither sister nor I will touch them.
- My mom is a member of every dead relative club there is. Really. She is the family genealogist, the history keeper. Apparently we have no degrees of separation. From Adam and Eve to Charlemagne to Lady Jane Gray to Mayflower passengers to Thomas Jefferson, we are family.
- She is the best nurse without a nursing degree. Really.
- Her needlepoint is perfection. She would needlepoint an entire house if she could. Wait, she has!
- My love of reading and cooking came from her.
- To this day, she pleads with me to “put on a little makeup, honey”; still refuse, but admire that tenacity.
That’s just a little about my mom. And I love her so. Because she is a great mom. And she loves me.
I’m a mom, too. While it’s nowhere near a piece of cake to raise children and the pay doth sucketh, the payoff – in the form of two amazing daughters, so uniquely beautiful and smart and strong – is priceless. When raising them, I tried to teach them right from wrong, good from bad, that truth always trumps false. I had just a few rules:
- Never go on “Oprah” and spill your guts.
- If you get arrested, call your father.
- If you are at a party and the police appear, run like a scalded dog.
The last two are of no consequence any longer. The “Oprah” thing stands forever.
They still roll their eyes when I ask them a question I asked them five minutes before. Sometimes they expect more from me than I expect from myself. When they are snappish, they must be fed before I try to have a conversation with them. We do think we are so funny even though no one else does. We’ve been together on mountaintops and at odds in the trenches. We are bound together by love.
I know they love me. Because I am their mom. And I love them so.
Happy Mother’s Day!