Today is my mamma’s birthday. I love her to pieces. See the smile on her beautiful face? That’s the smile burned into my heart — the one that greeted me early in the morning and put me to bed at night. See those pretty arms? Those are the arms that still feel like NONE OTHER when she hugs me. I’m sitting here getting all teary eyed just remembering how those loving arms and that bright smile comforted me and helped me put all the pieces back together all the times when I thought I was breaking. And I laugh when I remember all the shared goof-ups and sniglets, the inside jokes, the silliness that is in her blood and in mine.
She picked me up and put me back together when I had an unfortunate accident with an artificial rose. I sniffed it so deeply that it stung my nose, and I cried so hard she thought I stuck the rose UP my nose. So we went to the doctor, but he couldn’t find anything up there (except what you’d expect to find in the nose of a three year old.) When we got home, my mom had to laugh when she saw the artificial rose thrown in the trash can where I apparently stuck it after inhaling its fumes.
Mom started a game with my brother and me. Maybe it was more a matter of flexibility than a game. Face flexibility, that is. My mom’s silly talent is the ability to twist her lips into almost any shape. Think of a pretzel. While I can’t achieve that talent, I do make a pretty good impression of a 757 when I tuck in my upper lip and flare my nostrils. My brother was talented at making funny noises. Together, we cracked each other up. (and still do!)
I love the way mom handled my messy teenage bedroom. Every Saturday on cleaning day, she’d come into my room and pile everything that was on the floor, onto my bed. My job was to take it off the bed and put it away…before bedtime. That way the floor got vacuumed and the room got cleaned without much fuss. Smart mamma, I have.
Mom is the one who first proofread my papers in school. She taught me to write like I speak, and her encouragement is what keeps me writing still.
She’s the best listener I’ve ever known. Some of my childhood friends have been known to call her out of the blue because they needed a friendly ear. I’ve bent her friendly ear on so many occasions, both joyful and depressed. No matter what problem may be looming ahead, I always feel better after I talk with mom, even if nothing was solved and the problem still remains.
I think part of that is because mom has always been on my side. No matter what, she’s my cheerleader. And on those times that I do mess up, she’s quick to remind me that nobody’s perfect. Mom is really gifted at finding the humor in nearly any situation, and this trait of hers has helped me learn to not take myself too seriously.
I love my mom! (can you tell?)
One of my favorite memories with mom has to do with the movie Sixteen Candles. There’s a scene in the movie where Sam (Molly Ringwald) meets her mom in the hallway the day after her 16th birthday that the whole family had forgotten in the midst of big-sister’s-wedding-to-the-oily-bohunk upheaval. The mom apologizes profusely and hugs her daughter, when the brother walks in and asks, “Who died?” At that point the mom explains that the family forgot Sam’s birthday. His response?
The mom says,
Deep down, he’s really sorry.
Sam and her mom look at each other, smile, and say,
No, he’s not!
We replayed that scene and that exact dialogue in our lives over and over again, bringing an element of humor back into life. My brother threw the water from the dog’s water bowl on me while I was working on my tan. After getting on to him, she told me,
Deep down, he’s really sorry.
Then we both laughed and said,
No, he’s not!
Little brothers were born to pester, and that’s all there is to it!
Mom is also very wise. She wasn’t one of those moms who forced her kids to finish something just because they started it. She didn’t make me finish piano lessons or guitar lessons — she didn’t even force me to get braces on my bottom teeth. “Life is too short to waste time on things you hate,” she’d say.
Another goofy competition mom started in our family is the race to see who can shout,
before the rest of us (XYZ meaning any holiday). So thanks to mom, on March 17th I call her and we race to say “St. Patrick’s Day Gift!” or “Easter Gift!” or “Birthday Gift” or “Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Gift!” We play for pride, not prize, and we can be sneaky about it. Speaking of sneaky, I learned lots of sneaky tricks from my mom…like how to wrap a present so as to make the recipient confused about what’s in it. One year she wrapped my brother’s football in girly paper and put my name on it — we weren’t fooled, but it was fun all the same.
Thank you, mom, for making life fun! I love you and am grateful that God gave you to me and me to you.
Ceiling Fan! (inside joke)