No, she's not dead. But that doesn't mean I still don't have memories, right? I hate when people forget to celebrate their memories until after the loved one has passed. So, in honor of Mother's Day, I'd like to share some of the memories I have about my mom. I've already shared several on this blog throughout the past 2 years, so I will share some I haven't shared before.
I remember being really little, like 2 years old, and my mom wore pigtails. Yep. Pigtails. Come to think of it, not many other moms I knew wore pigtails. But my mom did. She would have been about 23 at the time, and she had long hair. On the days when she'd do gardening or deep cleaning or painting, she'd wear pigtails. I thought it was cool.
Thinking back I don't know if it was because my mom was pregnant and had cravings or if she just loved nuts, but I distinctly remember that next to the rocking chair in the living room was a bowl of mixed nuts. I was about 3 at the time. But, my sisters and I would sit around my mom's feet as she'd hold the nut bowl in her lap. She'd crack the nuts and we'd spend an entire afternoon just eating nuts. Maybe she had a show on, maybe not. All I remember are the nuts.
My mom had a HUGE collection of vinyl 45 records, and she had quite the eclectic taste. She most often listened to music while we cleaned. It always made the cleaning much more enjoyable.
4) Matching Outfits
My mom was a big fan of matching outfits for the kidlets. We wore matching outfits for family photos, for Easter Sunday and for family reunions. She is still a fan and we still dress to match for reunions. :)
5) No to No
I know there were some occasions when my mom pulled the "Because I said so" routine. And that was usually in situations when one of the kidlets was trying to argue with her or question her ruling (not I). But, in other situations and in MOST situations she was a "yes" mom. I remember times when I'd ask, "Mom, can I do [this]?" or "Can we do [that]?" Instead of a resounding "no" we'd often get a "No, but you could do [this] instead." I always liked that. I think it's helped me with my kids too.
My mom taught us to play many games and we had lots of board games growing up. Once during summer vacation from school all seven of us were bored and probably underfoot. She went down to the basement and came up with a case of Nehi soda, which was a treat because we NEVER got soda. Then she grabbed her deck of cards and called all of us to the dining table. That is the day she taught us how to play poker. I was 8 years old.
My mom loved to camp. I remember that there were many summers when my dad would travel for work. My mom didn't let that stop us. She'd load us all up and take all 7 of us camping for the weekend! I think the thought that she needed a man to "help" do anything never crossed her mind.
8) Reading & Movies
My mother was not one who liked to sit around and get lost in a good book. However, she did love words. She also knew the importance of reading to us. She made sure we had a library full of books and encouraged us to read often and often read to us. I remember the voices she'd do as she read.
It's no surprise to any of us kids that my mother was not the homemaker that other moms were. She didn't really know much about cooking or cleaning or sewing or gardening or things like that. But she was determined to learn. She learned basic techniques and as a result we had a garden in the summers, a fabulous strawberry patch, we never went hungry, we learned to clean, and we had dresses to wear for proms.
I always loved when I got to go somewhere with my mom alone. I looked forward to the one-on-one time in the car on the way to or from certain places. My mom would often use these moments as teaching moments. The radio wasn't blaring. Nope. Instead it was conversation. The way she talked to me made me feel all grown up too. We'd talk about life philosophies, boys, friends, school, religion, family, and just anything she could think of. Probably the most awkward moment was right after I was newly married. It seemed like it was out of the blue, but she must have felt the need to share some advice with me. She basically told me that sometimes a woman's got to "compromise" in the bedroom. Haha. Nice, Mom.
My mom was always very good about passing on her heritage to us. I need to be better at that with my own kids. She often regaled us with stories of her childhood. It was probably these experiences that taught me the most about my mother. Through these stories I learned about how she was neglected and abused. But I also learned that she loved. Even though she shared these stories she never once did it in a blaming way against her own mother. She loved her mother and we knew it. She told us funny stories too, but it was these stories of her childhood that showed me her true character. It showed me that she was a strong woman who overcame a lot. It showed me she had a capacity to forgive and to love unconditionally. She showed me it isn't worth it to harbor bad feelings or to allow life circumstance to hold me back. She showed me that I could make lemonade, or better yet -- lemon meringue pie, if life handed me lemons.
And best of all, in all of these memories of my mother, the one thing I have always gleaned and will continue to hold onto, is that she taught me I can do hard things. Because she did.
Thanks Mom for the memories!