That I would eat candy all day, even the kind that would stain my tongue bright “colors not found in nature.”
That I would watch daytime TV to my heart’s content.
I would never do the dishes. Well ok , maybe once a week.
And I would eat Marie Calendar chicken pot pies every night instead of making a balanced meal from scratch.
I would do all of this because I would FINALLY not have my mom looking over my shoulder. Ceaselessly making sure I did the ‘right thing.’
Now as I look around our home, the TV is off, dishes are washed (but admittedly not put away).
The boy’s easter baskets contained mostly seeds to plant and gardening tools. Oh, they got some chocolate and candy but none that stained their tongs neon blue.
There is not a single thing in our refrigerator that is pre-made, dinner tonight and every night will require cooking.
My mother was not strict. She was absolute. She demonstrated daily all the things she believed in.
When she said “no” she meant it.
She only changed her mind once that I can remember-
Coming home from gymnastics I asked (for the millionth time) if we could stop and get a slushy at the gas station (something the other car pool moms would do.)
Predictable she said “No.”
Unprecedentedly I said “Ok.” Instead of my usual borage of “please, please, please. Your not being fair! ‘So and so’ lets us!”
She pulled the car into the parking lot at warp speed. “Well since you didn’t argue…”
It was one of the best parenting maneuvers in history. I never got another slushy from my mom, but I also never argued about it again.
Well played Mother!
My mom had my number from birth. I was watched like a hawk, because I needed it.
Sara, not so much.
While I could easily get stuff passed my dad, I was always outflanked by my mom.
She managed to maintain the high ground for my whole adolescence without sacrificing the comfort and support I knew I could always receive from her. She was and is the epitome of a good wife and mother.
Self sacrificing. All comforting. All knowing.
Always truthful even when lying would have made her day much simpler.
She showed me the way a grown woman should be and let me see the truth of what the world was. Instead of rounding the corners off for me. All this while demonstrating how to be true to yourself, in every stage of life.
Even now that I have the privilege to relate to her as an adult and friend- I have found little contradiction in her. Contradictions often found in our parents given the benefit of hindsight.
She is as she seemed and so there has never been a schism between us. We know each other in all our rawness and we are happy in that space. Free of illusion or expectation.
We are proud of the people we have become.
Every year, I tell my mom how blessed I am to have her as my mother. And every year my reasons change and the meaning deepens. We are constantly evolving. There is always a new reason to be proud I get to call her “mommy.”
This year is no different.
Two years ago she guided us through the death of my father, her husband. True to form- did it with enviable grace.
What WAS different is that my sister and I got to be an asset to our mother. We got to show her that all her hard work helped produce two amazing, competent, well rounded women who could support her in a time of need and loss.
We are now, only three of four. A broken set.
Yet somehow stronger than the original unit. We are three grown women- who know how to love, comfort and cherish each other better than ever. All because of her example.
So even though I say the same words every year, I’m going to say it again.
I love you mom!
You are the best mom in the whole world!
And I miss you very much!