What do you do when the theme for Mother’s Day is…YOUR MOTHER?? Well, you take a few deep breaths and a trip down memory lane. Here’s to the woman who brought me into this world and often threatened to take me out of it. It’s easy to get so busy BEING a mom that you can forget that you HAVE a mom! I may take her for granted sometimes, but I know she knows that I love her. I owe a lot of who I am to her.
Things I remember about my mother from growing up:
We were partners in crime. And the crime was SHOPPING. I remember many trips to the mall. Starting at a young age, my mom would
drag take me with her to any and every store. We never came home empty-handed. Sometimes our buys were big, sometimes they were small. But there was always something. Don’t get me wrong–we weren’t rich or anything. In fact, we usually had no business going on the spending sprees that we did. I remember hiding packages in the car until my dad left for work so we didn’t get in trouble. I learned early that if I wanted the presents to keep coming, I kept my mouth shut. It was fun, our little secret. The way we girls bonded. (I’m pretty sure that this is why she has never said a thing to me about how much I indulge my daughter. Apple doesn’t fall far from that tree, does it Mom?)
My fashion sense, my daring sense of style, the “I don’t give a sh#* what you think of what I’m wearing”-that comes from my mom. I used to tease her when I was a teenager that the only color pants she ever wore were black, black and black. Little did I know then that black would always be the new black. No matter how she felt about her shape, she Dressed. It. Up. She may have been a victim of whatever era we were in, but she was always on trend.
I remember following her into the bathroom to watch her get ready in the morning before work. I don’t remember how that ritual started, but I was really young when it did. I would sit on the toilet seat lid and just stare at her, fascinated. I loved watching her put on her makeup and style her hair. We never really spoke much, not that I remember, but I learned so much by watching her. I have to fight the urge to follow her in there even now when I visit. That would just be awkward.
She was the first person I ever saw with a tattoo. I loved that butterfly even though I used to try to scrub it off when I was little. I now have a matching one as a tribute.
My mom always made sure we ate dinner at the counter together as a family. My dad would come home and dinner would be ready. I’m not completely sure what kind of voodoo she did to make THAT happen, being a working mom herself. She would ask me
bitch at me to help cook dinner and when I would say whine “I don’t know how!” she would say “Learn!” and that would be it. I probably should have asked a follow-up question or two at that point, but hey, I was thirteen! Our dinners always included a salad to go with the meal. That was always our favorite part. She was a good cook but, boy, her oil and vinegar salad dressing was the bomb!
Things I learned from my mom:
My mom changed who she was and grew over time. There are lots of different incarnations of this woman. My brother and I are 9 years apart and we often joke that we had completely different moms. He got the young, inexperienced and totally freaked out mom. The one who liked to stay out late and party. I got a calmer, more self-aware mom. The one who found God and took my dad on that journey with her. She taught me that as long as you are comfortable with your choices and in your own skin, then everyone else can screw off.
She also taught me to take risks. For most of my life, my mom was a hairdresser. Being her only girl, I was her test case, her guinea pig. I loved the attention and was a willing participant. I never flinched when my mom wanted to try something new on my hair. I never took it as a signal that she didn’t love me just the way I was. It wasn’t like that. I got to sit in her chair and be the center of attention while she learned how to do a new process or a new cut. Most of the time, the end result was not only something I could live with, it looked pretty cool. Sometimes, though, it didn’t. Like the time I said I wanted blonde highlights and all she heard was blonde. The valuable lesson in all of this is hair grows back. You can always fix it. Just like life. Whatever risks you take or decisions you make, you can always fix it. Some things are easier to fix than others, but it’s usually worth the risk.
The last thing I want to tell you about my mom are the words she always says: “Come on. Let’s go!” That phrase sums it up. If you’re sad or bored or feeling sorry for yourself, “Come on. Let’s go!”. If you accidentally dyed your hair platinum blonde before prom, “Come on. Let’s go!”. If your baby is born too early and you feel helpless, “Come on. Let’s go!”. I think it means that when you’re busy, you don’t have time to worry or fret. I like it. So, come on. Let’s go!
Happy Mother’s Day Mom!