In over 9 years of keeping this blog, I have not yet written about my mother.
That’s probably because she makes it so hard to be talked about.
As much as I normally don’t give a rip about what people think about my actions, my mom has always been that one person in my life that I’m trying really hard not to disappoint. She comes across as so perfect and so mistake free that is so hard to please. She speaks in one liners and she always has the last word. She defies definition and despite her succinct style in everything, she is so hard to summarize in one post.
These are just some things that describe her and that I have learned from her, over the years:
1. My mom is terrified of writing a birthday card, but she will explain in minute detail the organic chemistry that happens between the ingredients when she bakes a cake, fries an egg or makes sour cream from fresh milk! She will do complicated math with no pen and paper, she will figure out a complicated piece of electronic, but cannot match her skirt to her shirt!
2. Always make a fresh pot of coffee right after you climb out of bed, every morning. A house enwrapped in the smell of coffee will forever remind me of her.
3. Whatever you do, whatever choices you make, your parents will always and forever support you. Never be afraid to come back home! There is no shame in coming back home. Always accept defeat with dignity and come back where you’re loved to recharge.
4. Outside your priest and your doctor, your parents are the only people that you should never lie to. If you lie to them, they won’t know how to help you. And no matter how old you are, and how far you’ll go, you’ll need their help, their ear, and their shoulder.
5. Don’t ever be afraid to try anything! Everything is created by the people, for the people. You are just as good if not better than everyone else. Folks who are less smart than you have done this, so you can succeed in attempting anything others have tried as well. Just give it a shot!
6. Don’t ever be afraid to speak your mind. Never go to bed with thoughts you’re afraid to utter. What’s in your head should match what’s coming out of your mouth. If you have a thought, you should speak it up. Every time. Any time. Just be yourself. My mom is the only person I know that never tells a lie.
7. The only thing that separates you from your boss is their title. Not their education, smarts, or ability. You’re their equal in everything else!
8. Bad words or curses? Let them out! Don’t keep them inside, or you’ll get cancer!
9. Don’t judge your parents! Love them for who they are – they did the best they could and they will never judge you. They love you unconditionally, so it’s only fair that you return the favor.
10. Be grateful for what you have and never covet what others have. Life is never a competition. Everyone achieves as much as they allow themselves to dream of. Those are their dreams, not yours. Make your own. And don’t stretch more than your blanket allows.
11. Own your actions. No excuses. Even when it hurts, be truthful and honest. It’s the fastest way to peace of mind.
12. Read. Read. Read. You’ll never make intelligent conversation otherwise, and life is conversation.
13. No matter how tired or busy you are, always make time to clean your house thoroughly, wash your windows, your rugs and your curtains at least twice a year: before Easter and before Christmas. At least!
14. My mom is the greatest multi-tasker I know. All at one time, she will stir something in some pot on the stove, cross-stitch and solve a crossword puzzle, while watching a movie and actually following the plot, all while smoking a cigarette and pouring a drink. In her mind, you should never sit still while you’re awake. Find something to do or else your luck would be stagnant. She tires me just to watch her!
15. Always make time to do your nails! True ladies wear white nail polish and white underwear.
For everyone who knows my mom, they know she is extremely serious. It’s hard to make her laugh, or even crack a shy smile. She’s had a hard life, before she met dad, and she never got over it, in some way.
Today, on (American) Mother’s Day, everyone posts beautiful pictures of their mothers on social media. My favorite picture with/ of my mom is the one below. I am probably a year and a half or two, and I am slapping her across the face, as she pulls away. My dad captured the moment. I think the reason I love this picture is because I should have gotten in trouble for slapping her! But she is laughing and holding me so tight. This picture is the most perfect connotation of my relationship with her: even when I am in trouble, she is happy to have me, and she supports me and loves me and, in the end, forgives me, too. And deep down inside, despite her seriousness, I know she is having a good time. Deep down, in there, somewhere.
My mission in life has ever been to make her smile. This is one of the very few moments when I succeeded.
Mom and me, cca 1976