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Monday, May 10, 2010

Here's Smiling at You, Mom.

Pin It One of my earliest childhood memories is of a play table, turned upside down on the bedroom floor. Of myself and my older brother Chris, standing on the inverted flat surface, clinging to the legs, and screaming bloody murder. I was three, and he was six, or thereabouts. There was a storm at sea, and that table was our boat. Windswept waves tossed us high in the air, and crashed over the sides. It was terrifying, and exhilarating.

And then Mom came careening onto the scene, eyes wild and rolling white in her head--much like a distressed horse. "WHAT IS ALL THIS SCREAMING ABOUT?" I remember her snatching me up, and lighting into Chris (he always was the instigator, dang him.)

I have to laugh now, thinking about it, and any number of other times we gave our mother heart palpitations and she gave us heck for it, in return.

I called Mom yesterday to wish her a happy mother's day. She was sitting back, enjoying two of her grandkids and a day where her son and daughter-in-law there in Columbia catered to her every desire and made a great meal. I was a little jealous, wishing I were there to join the party.

Mom taught me many things, among them patience, perseverance, and the value of work. After her example, I find it difficult even now to not work a full-time job in addition to caring for my family. I remember well her in her high heels and pretty suits and dresses, leaving in the morning to manage a rental property. She'd stagger back home after six p.m. and immediately start supper. While supper was on the stove she'd come and lay down on the sofa, completely wiped out. I'd rub her feet, narrow and a little bony, with polished nails. I can imagine now how much those feet must've ached at the end of every day.

She taught me plenty of other things, too--I was recently reminded of them in one of those jokey emails that circulates.

Here's a sampling:
1. Religion. "You'd better pray that comes out of the carpet/sofa/walls/etc." I remember this one particularly well after an impromptu party involving my parents' abssence, macaroni and cheese and some kind of alcohol--grenadine, I think-- in my misspent youth. I tried to blame the curious incident on Chris, but as he was away at Tech, that didn't go over very well.

2. Logic. "Because I said so, that's why." I must've heard this one a lot, because it flies from my own lips today quite fluently.

3. More Logic. "If you fall out of that tree and break your neck, don't come crying to me."

4. Foresight. "Make sure you have on clean underwear--you never know when you might get in a car accident!"

5. Irony. "Keep on crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

6. Osmosis. "Shut your mouth and eat." (I'm not sure why we never said anything about this blatantly impossible task...my children call me on it everytime. "But, mom...")

7. Weather. "This room looks like a hurricane hit it!"

8. Hypocrisy. "If I've told you once, I've told you a million times--don't exaggerate!"

9. The Circle of Life. "I brought you into this world--I can take you right out!"

10. Anticipation. "Just wait until your father gets home."

11. Roots. "Stop tracking mud all over the place! Were you born in a barn?"

12. How to become an Adult. "If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up!"

13. Medical Science. "If you don't stop doing that, your face is going to stick like that forever."

14. ESP. "Put a coat on! Don't you think I know when you're cold?"

15. Justice. "One of these days you're going to have kids Just Like You." (Ain't that the truth?)

From one mom to the next--Happy Mother's Day.


Chrissy said...

Looks like your mom knew my mom!...I guess once you have the name MOM stamped on your forehead (after giving birth) we must get rewired in our brain to sound off all those statements u posted here...lol

YogaSavy said...

Eyes in the back of my head! My kids cant get around that one... they are still wondering how I knew when they were up to no good!(mother of 25,23)

Dacia said...

Hey, the clean underwear advise is actually very helpful. I was in a really bad car wreck when I was 14. They had to cut off my jeans and I was somewhat delirious still at the time. I blurted out, "At least I have on clean underwear!" I think my mom was glad I remembered something she told me.

diane rene said...

I will have to share this :) they are all so true and can span any age gap.

Chrissy said...

@ Dacia: Can u imagine if that line were true, can u see the person in the ER saying: " Wow, she listened to her mother!"...lol

Rachel said...

I'm thinking...that your mom...was a lot like mine......which would make sense as to why you and I have so much in common! :D

A day late but Happy Mother's Day girlfriend!

Lori said...

Chrissy--I agree...the stuff just trips so naturally off our tongues!

YogaSavy--I knew I was forgetting one. I think that one falls under "human anatomy."

Dacia--too funny! Er...not that you were in an accident, of course. Just that you were wearing clean panties. ;)

Diane--feel free! :)

Rachel--a mystery we have long pondered: were our mothers in fact separated at birth...?

The Empress said...

I always wonder, but WHERE did those phrases originate?

They had to begin somewhere?

Very true stuff.

Thank you!

Anonymous said...

My dad was the one who said he'd give me something to cry about.... ha!

Happy Mother's Day!

Anaise said...

I say so many of those things.


Motherhood is universal.

Happy Mother's Day to you, too.

Richard & Natalie said...

This was great, Lori. You got all of those things I swore I would never do or say, but do every.single.day! Oh well, what do you do?
Happy belated Mother's Day!

Teachinfourth said...

Wow, some of those things brought back memories...

Stef said...

Hahaha! This post is quite awesome! It always makes me wonder what my kids will quote me as saying.
"Life isn't fair."
"Only you can make yourself happy."

Linn said...

LOVE this post--talk about bringing back memories!

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