I love you, mom. Happy Mother’s Day!
My mom, Doris, is really beautiful. I look like my dad. She used to complain that she has no eyebrows and refused to go out without lipstick, but she never needed it. Here she is when I was very young, with me and my dad:
My mom taught me to sit up straight, keep my elbows off the table, and to look it up when I didn’t know something. She taught me to wash dishes properly, set the table properly, and how to iron. She insisted I learn to sew, and sent me to Mrs. Helen Grabowski to learn. She refused to teach me to drive, and made my father teach me when I neglected to make an effort to learn on my own.
My mom threw the best birthday parties, hiring a magician or a psychic to entertain me and my friends, insisting on a lip-syncing contest, baking cakes and taking us to the skating rink. As an only child, she made sure I had friends to do things with, and even on our annual vacation in Letchworth State Park, she welcomed my best friend Julie and had fun with us all week. Here we are overlooking the Genesee river: me, mom, and Julie.
Thank you, mom, for proofreading my papers in high school (I wish my students had moms like you), and passing along your love of books. You can often find me in the same pose as my mom:
Yep, on the sofa, covered by an afghan (big difference: she can make her own afghans, something I still have never done), reading!
When I was a teenager, mom and I had lots of arguments. I guess that is kind of typical. She was aggravated by my choice of hairstyle, clothing, earrings, music to listen to, and attitude. I didn’t study hard enough, I neglected to call and say where I was or that I would be late, I ought to do the vacuuming and the dusting and clean the bathroom. Thank you mom, for teaching me to clean the bathroom.
Yet, when I was a teenager, we shared season tickets to the theater, read some of the same novels, we both liked watching Pierce Brosnan in that detective show and Bruce Willis in that other detective show.
By getting in my mom’s way in the kitchen, I learned to cook (to her surprise!). However, I never learned tact from my mom. She is very frank.
In this photo, my mom smiles despite the fact I am wearing the earring she hated most of all: a long rubbery plastic fish.
Ever since I moved away to go to college (22 and a half years ago), my mom has been complaining that I don’t call enough. I’m sorry, mom! She worries that I am depressed, overworked, sick, or otherwise miserable. Thanks, mom, I am usually OK, just a negligent, terrible daughter. But I call you way more often than you called Grammy Wilma, in my memory of growing up. I LOVE YOU! And I’m like you in many ways.
For example, I am always right, just like you are. This works better when we are not in the same place. I’m a good cook, I enjoy art and dance and plays. I’m not as excited about Paul Simon as you are, but I like his music. I have a great vocabulary like you do, and I forget some of it, like you do. We’ve both been on our own church’s board of trustees, and we’ve both enjoyed Scottish Country Dancing. I still can’t get into T’ai Chi, though Greg and I took a class a few years ago.
Here we are at my wedding to Greg. You made your outfit, and you loaned me your pearls to wear.
Thank you for bringing me up in the Unitarian Universalist church, for promising me a college education and fulfilling that promise, even though I chose a very expensive school, and for helping me get on my feet after graduation. Thank you for raising me not to use bad words, to enjoy tea, and to enjoy houseplants. Thank you for recommending Tony Hillerman, and suggesting I would enjoy reading Game of Thrones (now an HBO series). Thank you for the recipes for stuffed peppers, popovers, roasted root vegetables, and explaining over the phone how to cook pumpkins and turkeys (back when I still cooked turkeys). Thank you for the wardrobe advice, the suggestion that a glass of wine is OK to have after a hard day at work, and for sending cookies to Greg before he decided to move to the east coast, years before he proposed. I love you, mom!