Becoming My Mother
Often, I read a joke or hear someone say, “Oh no, I’m becoming my mother!”
And I think… “Oh God! Oh, How I wish I were!”
Because my mother is everything I could ever hope to be.
Except short. She’s short. Only the bottom shelves of her kitchen cabinets have ever been useful to her.
Other than that… Yes. I would be exactly like her.
My mother turns 95 this week.
She has four children. She still calls us “you kids”, though two of us are in their seventies and two are in our sixties. She has six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren (so far).
She was married to my dad for 63 years. He died eight years ago and she misses him every day. But she smiles every day too. My father was a great part of her happiness, but her happiness is also her own. And it is intrinsic and unassailable.
To become my mother is to be happy.
She loves to laugh. She has a sense of the ridiculous. And she can laugh at herself. She loves to tell the story of being on vacation with my dad and sitting by the swimming pool in her bathing suit. She was already well past middle age. And a young girl walked by wearing the same swimsuit. My mother described the girl as “horrified.” “I bet she never wore that suit again,” Mom laughed.
To become my mother is to be an optimist.
My mother does not live in a bubble. She is well aware of all the ills of the world. But she also believes that most people are good and are doing the best they can. And that things tend to work out for the best. Life is sweeter when you look for the sweet things.
To become my mother is to be polite.
Years (many many years ago) I had a boyfriend that my mother did not like. But every time he walked in the door she made him a cup of tea. With honey. And put out the cookies.
To become my mother is to be fair.
My mother does not get outraged very often. But if she does, unfairness is at the root of it. “Even-Steven” is one of her favorite expressions, especially as applied to “us kids.” She counted presents under the Christmas tree. She counted jelly beans in Easter baskets. And getting to select tv shows or slices of cake. Speaking of TV, my mother even hates unfairness in fiction. She despises shows where an innocent guy gets was framed. “How could they do that! That’s not fair!” she hollers at the TV.
To become my mother is to be knowledgeable.
My mother is well-educated. She became a nurse by applying to school over her parents’ objections. And packing a suitcase and walking alone to the hospital training program. And over the years she has continued to emphasize education for herself and for us. All her children have graduate degrees. She keeps aware of current events and trends. She has seen the latest viral video – even if she sometimes calls it a virus video. She is a news junkie, even at 95. And OMG, people better be treated fairly. She may not get out much anymore, but she had her absentee ballot early.
To become my mother is have proper priorities.
My mother is a worrier – no doubt about it. But she always worried about the right things. All her worries are based on one basic issue – whether the people she loves are okay. And happy. My mother always said that if the choice is between having a clean house and having fun, the fun would always win. “Housework can wait,” she said, “and you will not remember in a few years how many times you vacuumed. You’ll remember going to the beach, though.”
To become my mother is to be easy to please.
My mother likes everything – from a sumptuous dinner to McDonalds. Diamond earrings and drugstore makeup. A heartfelt speech. A jigsaw puzzle. Photographs. Getting her hair done. Good shoes. UConn Girls Basketball. Lottery tickets. A fresh loaf of bread. What do you get her as a present? Anything!
To become my mother is to feminine.
Feminine in the best sense of the word. My mother embraces womanhood, in all its forms. She is happy to be a girl. She loves all the girly things – makeup, perfume, jewelry. But she also believes that girls can do ANYTHING. And encouraged her three daughters to try everything and expect to succeed.
All my successes in life started with her belief in me.
My greatest success would be to become my mother.