In honor of Mother’s Day and of one of the silliest, dippiest, smartest, most wonderful mom I could ask for and that makes me the envy of all my friends, I’d like to introduce you to my mom. 🙂
MOM’S PARENTAL STYLE:
My mom’s handwriting is atrocious, her words not mine. Rather than write letters (back in the day when people put pen to paper and the internet was a thing) you’d need a codex to decipher, she would record cassette tapes (dino days of yore) of the news she wanted to share. We have what I would call a blooper reel of one of those sessions. I was about 3 yrs old or younger, she was taping her news and the house is quiet. This should have been a warning to any mother. She’s mid-sentence when her mother sense starts tingly.
Mom: Kaw, what are you doing?
Me: Nuffin *off in the house distance*
Mom: Uh huh… come in here where I can see you.
Mom: WHAT? You say No, Ma’am young lady! (you know, as long as it’s done properly I don’t have to listen to her)
Me: No! Ma’am!
Mom: Alright, that’s better. Now come in here.
Me: No ma’am!
Several things happen in quick succession here. You hear mom use my first AND middle name as she gets up and followed by the unmistakeable sound of a wet dog shaking himself dry and an outraged squawk. Apparently NOW I am ready to come into the room because the jig is up.
Me: I gave Purdles a baf. (I couldn’t say Puddles and you can imagine how he got THAT name. I also imagine that I am wet and looking pleased with myself)
Mom: No kidding! (I’ve got this mental picture of the room being flecked with soap suds and mom standing there dripping and staring at me like I was the spawn of satan.) She is heard calling for Puddles, who wants no part of anything at this point, and mom heading into the kitchen to survey my handiwork. I am told that the kitchen, was a disaster. And there is mostly just the whir of the cassette recording far off sounds of a mini person in a great deal of trouble. Puddles and I both got a bath.
My brother had a speech impediment, he couldn’t say his t’s… he said anything that started with a “T” with an “F” Ex: Tiger= Figer, Teeter-Todder= Feeter-Fotter, now what made this interesting for say… the Sunday school teacher was that when confronted with a TR sound the “R” was dropped… so something like Treat became Feat, Tree became Fee… and Truck became- ………. something that prompted an after church meeting with the nursery worker.
Church lady: Sandy, Mark can’t say Truck.
Mom: Oh, okay. (She’s not getting it, I’m six and holding onto mom’s hand and wanting to go home now.) We’ll he’ll get it eventually.
Church Lady: No, Sandy…you need to work with him on this.
Mom: Okaaaay, (not understanding the urgency of the situation and she’s getting annoyed. Me too) I get it, my son can’t say truck, there are lots of words kids can’t say at this age.
Church Lady: Right, but it’s not that he can’t say it, it’s what he says… He can’t pronounce his T’s… he uses F’s instead. (she’s giving mom the look that is silently urging moms mental light to come on) Sooo if he’s playing with a fire truck…
Mom: He says… Fire Fruck? there’s a hopeful tone to her voice.
Church Lady leans back and shakes her head no: He drops the r..
Mom: Ohhhhhhh, So truck is… Oh! Oh my goodness!
Yeah… my brother entered speech boot camp that week.
My brother also used to threaten to run away and mom’s solution was simple and brilliant. He went out to play after being mad at her for something and saying he was running away. She put his stuff in a big black trash bag and put it out on the porch and locked the door. My mom is sitting at the kitchen table with me and we’re eating when Mark came home looking some lunch.
Mark: Mommy, door’s locked.
Mom: Who’s out there?
Mark: It’s Mark… (said with a duh in his voice) I’m hungry.
Mom: Who’s Mark?
Mark: I am, mommy.
Mom: Why are you calling me mommy? My little boy ran away…. I threw alllll his stuff in the trash because he doesn’t live here anymore. My brother looked at the trash bag and started crying and saying he was sorry. Never did that again.
Mom also read stories to us at bedtime, played games with us, locked us out of the house so she could clean. We came in with the street lights came on, had to be within eyesight of the house and earshot for when they called. Climbing trees was fine but if you climbed over what dad could reach, you were on your own. You said yes ma’am and no ma’am, you prayed over dinner and at bedtime before storytime. I know, I know people nowadays would call us free-range children and out parents would be in big trouble. It was a different world back then, kids still went missing and bad things happened, we had frank talks about not letting people touch us in inappropriate places, not to talk to strangers, the candy story, the don’t go inside people’s houses without clearing it with mom and dad. My parents met the neighbors, met the parents of the kids I played with and told us what houses were approved to play in. We drank from hoses in the yard, ate blackberries right off the bush, drank from streams, played in mud and dirt. It was awesome.
Mom became a mom to everyone on the block, we had 17 children living in the house at a time. Varying in age from 3 up to teens, school night or summertime it didn’t matter. She babysat for truckers who would go on the road for weeks at a time, neglected kids stayed… everyone knew where the kids were and that they were safe. Mom made them call and check in, spoke with the parents. She was a foster parent before they were even called that. Mom and Dad are and were some of the best people on the planet, they weren’t perfect and they made mistakes, but their successes far outweigh their failures.
When I was little maybe 2nd or 3rd grade we went to the fair and stopped at a fast food chain to eat on the way home. I noticed a police officer sitting my himself and asked dad if he could sit with us because he looked all by himself. Mom said: go ask him. I did and he came over and sat with us. His family was out of town while he was working, he was missing them and eating alone after his shift. He engaged me and my brother as well as mom and dad. When he left he thanked us for inviting him over, it made him
Later in life: I was a teen working for Long John Silvers (a seafood restaurant) and my mom called while I was clocked out and on a break so a co-worker (and my best friend/sister in the entire world) Donna answered the phone. While Donna came to find me, the drive through/carryout alarm went off and went unanswered for a few seconds until she made it back behind the counter.
I follow her and pick up the phone and no one is there. So I hang up and since my break it over I clock in again. The phone rings, I answer it’s my mom and she is SUPER NETTLED. She’s demanding to know who picked up the phone.. apparently while Donna was coming to get me and the drive thru wasn’t getting answered the manager came on the line and said: Answer the effing drive through or something along those lines (profanity was used). WOOOOOO boy was mom hot! She got the name of the manager and came down there to my work and told my boss: I don’t care if you are Mr. Long John Silver himself you do NOT talk to my child or anyone else like that. I could have been a customer for all you knew! And it was on…. the woman almost lost her job over it.
Mom is 5 ft 3/4 inch.. and she does claim every bit of that height because she needs it. I’ve seen her become a momma bear on many occasions, size doesn’t stop her and no one else has yet either.
She taught me a lot when I had my son, she teaches me now (though not as much). She is the sweetest person you ever want to meet, and the worst person to get on the wrong side of. She’s not always happy with the things I do and often wonders where she went wrong when I don’t behave exactly how she wants me to. She hates that I have a keychain that says: There’s no reason for the way I’m about to behave. Because I also learned not to take crap off of people, to stand up for myself and to think for myself (sometimes I think she regrets that when I deviate from her ideals).
Because of her, I believe in helping people when you can, however, you can. Be it on a small scale like a hug, a few dollars, a bag of food, a smile, picking up something they dropped, praying, encouragement, or passing on something I found useful or be it in large ways. Because of her I know that people are people, they have hopes and dreams, they have feelings and I don’t judge them by their faults, skin color, physical appearance, gender, hair color, blah blah whatever.
My mom is awesome. I love her very much, even if I can’t live in the same house with her for long periods of time because we drive each other nuts now and she can’t stop being a mom and I can’t stop being her kid, even though I have a grown kid of my own now.
I might tell you more about her idiosyncrasies in another post. Like, she invented a legitimate word that made it into the newspaper, and how for Halloween, she was told a about 30 minutes before a costume contest started and whipped up a costume for me that got 2nd place and got me into the newspaper as well. Her Gracie moments, her greatest phrases ever… and more.
Happy mother’s day mom!!