notquiteold

Nancy Roman

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.

39 Comments

  1. Doris Legere Kennedy

    Well done Nancy. I approve and you explain Steffie to a T. Wonderful lady in every sense of the word.

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  2. That a great photograph and wonderful tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can identify)

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  4. Love it! That’s all I ever wanted to have in a mom and be in a mom! Sadly, it is not what I had for a mom nor what my kids remember me as. Sigh. I love your thoughts of your mom 🙂

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    • I understand the sorrow for what you have missed. I have the sorrow of not having children, but we call go on the best we can. I hope sharing my own mother with you today helps a little.

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  5. Aw! This got me emotional – thinking about my mother. Thank you what a beautiful post.

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  6. Thanks Nancy for posting this. Your mom sounds lovely! My mom is nearing 100 and although she is healthy, her dementia is stealing her away from me. I’m thankful for each day I have with her. Blessings to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My father had some moderate dementia in his last years… i understand how sad it is to have them slip away from you.

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  7. Susan

    I always knew our mothers were a lot alike – but never how much until I saw this. I’ve always said if I can be 1/2 the person my Mother was, I would be very happy. I have a picture of Aunt Steff on my wall here at work. I think it was an Easter picture you posted. She has the most wonderful smile on her face. and I look at it an think “If she can smile like that at her age, what have I got to be depressed about”, and it almost always works. Give her a hug and kiss for me, wish her a happy birthday, and tell her I love her.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I miss your mom. I always remember her as unflappable. She could keep calm and do anything.

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  8. Such a beautiful and positive portrait of your mother in words and photograph. She is a role model for all of us.

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    • Thank you. She is a wonderful role model for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. What a beautiful ode to your mom, and I love that you appreciate her, even and especially in old age (when many become annoyed with parents)/ I miss mine every day. Good for you!

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  10. The older I get the more like my mum I get and that is ok as my mum is amazing just like your mum is amazing.

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  11. Dawn Allison

    Your mother is beautiful and you are blessed to realize all her wonderful qualities. You are richer than you know.

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  12. 95 looks marvelous on your mother!

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  13. What an absolutely beautiful testament to your mother. I love every single word you have written here Nancy, how blessed you are to have such an incredible role model. Oh, & for the record, I just finished doing a gift count for my grown children & their spouses. Even Stephen😉

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  14. This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. What a wonderful tribute to you mom. What an incredible person she is. Thank you for writing this.

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  15. Jannette

    This is a beautiful tribute to your mom. I hope you share it with her so she knows how you feel. She sounds a lot like my own mom that I lost over ten years ago. Wish I could have told her what she meant to me before her mind slipped into the hidden world of dementia.

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  16. This is beautiful, Nancy, and I sure hope that your mom reads it:) We could only hope that our own children feel this strongly about each of us!

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  17. Fortunate to have a mother. You must follow her and keep happy all the times. I lost my mother in early childhood so don’t ever distance her for any reason. Thanks a lot.

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  18. Ray G

    And, tomorrow I get to see her again!

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  19. millylaps

    Oh!How I’m proud of my mouth!She can be ddifficult sometimes though.
    Check out also commonafricangirl.com

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  20. Beautiful

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  21. Your mother sounds amazing! My my passed away a little over a year ago. When she was alive I would reject our similarities, now I embrace them all. When I look in the mirror and see features of my mom I smile now – I still get to see her in some ways. You’re so lucky to still have your mom and what a great role model she is.

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  22. Pam

    It looks like your mother loves Theo, too!
    What a lovely tribute to your dear mom! I hope you know how very lucky you are. I think you do.

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  23. What a beautiful tribute. Sending lots of wonderful birthday wishes to your mom. ❤️

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  24. Beautiful post! I’d like to become your mother as well!

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  25. What a nice tribute to your mom!

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  26. What a lovely tribute to your mother! I’m sure you know how lucky you are to have her!

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  27. Best wishes for you and your mother may you get success in each and every step

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Beautiful tribute to your wonderful Mom. Lucky are we who’ve had Moms that wanted to be one! 🙂 MJ

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  29. Roianne Tappen

    Wonderful. I so often hear about painful mother daughter experiences and I almost feel a sense of guilt. I could apply all you have written about my mother. I once set in a meeting and listened as woman after woman told uncomfortable tales about mothers who made them feel less. When they got to me I had to speak the truth, that my mother is incredible. I went home and wrote her a thank you for all she has been and all she means to me. I wish I had written this:-)

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  30. Beautiful

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  31. Your Mom sounds amazing! This is such a lovely tribute to her.

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  32. So sweet…..Mother is a special person in our life no one can take place of her…I am nothing without my mom……lots of love Kunal bansal Chandigarh.

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  33. Beth

    Off subject here… just wanted to let you know I finished reading Lucinda’s Solution last night. What a great read! Couldn’t put it down. I’m hoping there is a sequel?

    Like

  34. Your mom sounds like a good role model for everyone. I also had a wonderful mom who sadly died in 1971 in her 50s. Too young. How good your mom is still around and enjoying life.

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  35. You can be proud of your mother. She gave you lots to aim for. Job well done!

    Like

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