This is my mom.
She is Fucking Awesome. Today (July 12) is her birthday.
Besides the fact that she gave me life (and I now know just how awful that process was, finally having done it myself), there are a million-kazillion-bajillion other reasons why I love her. These are just eleven of them.
She uses the word “zatosh” to describe a right-turn/left-turn or left-turn/right-turn when giving directions. This is the most bizarre word I have ever heard, but she insists it’s a real term. I’ve tried looking it up, but my boyfriend Dick has no record of it. I am suspicious that she made it up but she continues to use it, undeterred.
She also tells me not to “tarry,” which actually means “don’t fuck off.”
She has always taken great delight in playing horrible, evil practical jokes on me. When I was in my 7th grade Enter-Every-Fan-Magazine-Contest-Especially-If-It-Involved-Duran-Duran phase, she had a friend call me and pretend to be a Tiger Beat representative telling me I had won a trip to Hawaii to meet Simon, Nick & Co. in person.
I screamed like someone had set me on fire, hung up without getting any details, and ran into the kitchen to deliver the TOTALLY AWESOME news (it was 1984, after all)… to find my mother and her friends waiting for me.
As soon as I saw the look on her face, I knew. It was a combination of pity, sick amusement and pure, raw satisfaction.
Hilarious? Also, yes.
Later practical jokes included convincing me that she was moving to Arizona without me, and that Oldie-But-A-Goodie “You’re going to have a little brother or sister!” (long after I had passed the stage of actually WANTING one of those).
She still enjoys locking me out of the car every now and then, inching the car away while I stand there helpless, pointlessly gripping the car door handle.
She laughs maniacally while she does this.
Do I deserve every torturous minute? Also, yes.
She never asks for anything more than a crossword puzzle dictionary (that woman LUUURVVS her some crossword puzzles) or a set of kitchen towels for her birthday. When I get her more, which I always do (I’m not STUPID, you know), she always tells me I shouldn’t have gotten “so carried away.”
Once, for Mother’s Day I think, she asked me for a pencil sharpener. Like all I’m going to get for this Woman Who Bore Me From Her Loins on Mother’s Day is a goddamned pencil sharpener.
Get real, Crazy Crossword Lady!
When I was a teenager, I developed a habit of being a total bitch slamming my door whenever I was unhappy, which was a lot. She warned me more than once not to do this but, me being a total bitch me, I did it anyway.
(Sadly, I have never completely shaken the being a total bitch door-slamming habit. Just ask the Big Bean.)
Inevitably, I slammed my door one time too many, and finally came home from school one day to find that the door to my bedroom had been removed from its hinges. For two weeks I lived with nothing separating my utopian sanctuary from the rest of the world. I had to explain it to my friends when they came over and found a blanket tacked up where my door used to be. I was utterly humiliated.
It was Hell on a Stick for a privacy-loving teenager.
My mother is the QUEEN of the Punishment-Fits-The-Crime approach to discipline. She could write a book.
She and my dad divorced when I was very young. Despite being on her own and broke with a quasi-troubled (but still very cute) kid to raise, she managed to finish her Bachelors degree — and then, a total glutton for punishment, her Masters degree as well.
She had to beg, borrow and steal (okay, technically I don’t know about that stealing part, unless you count our one-eyed dog Amber , whom she stole from a college laboratory cage and impending doom and brought home and gave to me on my 8th birthday, and turned out to be the very best birthday present I ever got), but anyway, she got it all done, DAMMIT.
Now that’s what I call Setting An Example.
During the time she was a poor-college-student-slash-single-mom-slash-animal-rescuing-hero, she also battled breast cancer — at the tender age of 29. She came out of it alive and kicking after months of radiation therapy, which was a relatively new treatment at the time and couldn’t have been fun.
I wouldn’t know, though — she never ONCE let on how scared or sick she was to me. Never.
Fourteen years later, long after that whole “free-and-clear” deadline had passed, the cancer came back. She gave it the finger beat it with a mastectomy.
She’s had other health scares over the years, as well as a long run of bad luck, an inter-family battle that was bitter and painful, two years of unexpected unemployment, and five long years in Dallas, Texas — away from all of her family and friends in a job that she hated.
She’s faced each of those challenges squarely in the face and, one by one, she has beaten them all with grace and dignity and strength and balls as hard as rocks.
This woman is NOTHING if not a Survivor.
She loves the TV show LOST as much as I do. After every episode she calls me and wants answers. As if I would have them. As if ANYONE would have them. And she seems genuinely surprised and dismayed when I don’t.
(While I’m on the subject, can anyone explain to me that goddamned four-toed statue? WTF? Seriously, I can live without the answers to the mysteries about the numbers or the missing plane and bodies or the Dharma Initiative or whatever… But that fucking statue keeps me up nights.)
The Big Bean and I waited a long time to have a baby, nearly ten years after we got married. When we did decide to “try” (and I use that term loosely, it was more like, “Hey, I’m tired of having to take this pill every day. Let’s stop and see what happens!” Followed a month later by “Holy Shit!”) we didn’t tell anyone, including my mom. We didn’t know if we’d be able to get pregnant and also thought it would be a heart-attack-inducing fun surprise since everyone we knew had written us off years ago.
So when I first told her, it was a HUGE shock.
Her reaction: “Ummm…are we happy about this?”
She didn’t want to get too excited before she knew that I was excited too. She was prepared to be whatever I needed her to be.
How Fucking Awesome is that?
She reads my blog regularly (including the comments, hint, hint) and enjoys it, even when I’m “tacky.” She never fails to tell me how proud she is of each post, no matter how offensive or lame it might be. (Except for the one about bad fashion, which she took as a personal affront on behalf of her BFF Melanie Griffith.)
(Oh, and she also felt sorry for “Poor Elmo.”)
She also insisted that I tell her where my keys were before I told anyone else.
When I was in high school, she would come home every night after work, pour herself a glass of wine, and spend the evening sitting with me on the back porch, talking about our day. We would watch the deer eat corn in our backyard, feed crickets to Tommy Toad, who had taken up residence in one of her potted plants, and just chat until it was time for dinner.
It may not sound like much, but that time spent shaped my entire life. She cared enough to spend every evening with me, listening to me, laughing at my stupid jokes, asking questions about my friends, my teachers, my boyfriends. She didn’t just love me, she LIKED me. In fact, she still does. And that is a VERY special thing to have in one’s life.
She is a hands-on Grandma, in every sense of the word. She helped us raise our little Bean for the entire first year of his life. She loves that little boy at least as much as we do.
But she has never ONCE made me feel like I was doing it wrong. She offers advice when I need it but lets me make my own decisions when it comes to the Bean — and respects those decisions even if she might not always agree with them.
When he sees her, he gets so excited that he literally shakes. It is love in its purest form.
Need more reasons? ‘Cause I’ve got plenty.
She’s the best mom and the best friend I could have ever asked for, and the best grandma I could have ever wished for my son. She is ALWAYS on my side. She’s bailed me out of more self-inflicted scrapes than I would care to admit.
She loves the Big Bean, and she loves my friends as if they were her own. Just recently, a close friend who had fallen on hard times needed help, and my mom gave it without hesitation.
And you know what else? She loves ME. Unconditionally and eternally. And I love her back, more than she realizes or probably than I show.
Whether you believe it or not, I am thankful for you every day, Mom. I love you. Happy Birthday!!
(Want to wish my mom a Happy Birthday? Leave a comment below and she will love you forever.)Stumble it!