I’ve always said I wouldn’t become my mother. It’s not that she was a bad mother or anything like that, but who wants to become your mother? I mean, she’s old, right? My mother has been old to me since the day I was born! I guess that’s how I look to my kids too.
There are certain ways I have transformed into my mother. For one thing, sometimes, I open my mouth and my mother comes out. I remember the first time it happened. I used my mother’s favorite phrase, “Don’t look at me in that tone of voice!” Then, I looked around, scared and whispered, “Mama? Is that you?”
Another way I have become like my mother is that I can smack my children while driving down the interstate, and I never even take my eyes off the road. Back talk? (Smack out of nowhere.) Fighting? (Pow!) Looking at me in that tone of voice? (Bam!) Of course, sometimes it’s challenging to actually hit them, since we drive monstrously big vehicles. My children are apparently smarter than my sister and I were when we were younger because they know how to move quickly before they actually get smacked. This leaves me to flail around blindly and look like a crazy woman while I’m driving.
I can cook like my mama, too. If it’s white, fried and southern, no problem! If you want me to tell you the measurements for most things I cook, we have a problem.
As I glanced at this book in the dollar store, it got me started thinking. I’ll admit that, in many ways, I am quickly transforming into my mother. But, really, is that a bad thing? Mama had (and has!) a lot of great qualities that I only hope I am living up to.
Mama fiercely loved (and still loves) her kids. If you don’t believe me, just say something negative about me or my sister in front of my mother. Hell hath no fury like a mother offended.
No matter what, we always knew that Mama loved us. She was always there for us, even when it wasn’t convenient for her. She always put our needs first, and my sister and I never did without. Mama put her career on hold to be home with us and to make sure we were taken care of. No matter what, I always knew Mama was there.
Mama created a home for us. We felt loved and cared for, and we always knew we were welcome. This applies even today. As we have been driving back and forth from High Springs to Brandon for the last month, we have stayed with her every weekend. She has let my kids have friends spend the night, and the Beetle even had 4 teenage boys over to swim for his birthday. Mama never complained and never said we couldn’t come. Although this is not the house I lived in as a child, it’s Mama’s house, so it’s home.
Mama taught us to laugh at ourselves and at others. She let us know that it was okay not to take life too seriously. I’m pretty sure I learned that lesson a little too well.
Mama let us try everything. Between my sister and me, we had dance lessons, gymnastics lessons, horseback riding lessons (and I owned my own horse), violin lessons, flute lessons and ice skating lessons. We went to day camp, friends’ houses and more. I was on the tennis team and went to a math tutor. My sister had activities too (I can’t actually remember what she did. I was too busy with my own stuff). My mother ran a taxi service, and she never complained. My mother didn’t even make me stay for the ever-dreaded pep rallies in high school. She would pick my friend, Willow, and me up from school early so we did not have to go. Now, that’s a nice Mama!
Mama was friends with my friends. She got to know them, and she laughed with them, and she enjoyed them. My house was the house that everyone wanted to go to, because everyone was welcomed there. Plus, Mama would cook some southern macaroni and cheese for us.
When I fell in love at the ripe old age of 15, Mama accepted Mr. Everything as one of her own. Never did she treat him as an outsider. In fact, at one point during the dating years, she told me that I might as well marry him because if I didn’t, she was going to adopt him.
Mama was not perfect. I could name her flaws, but that wouldn’t win me any points, now would it? (She does read my blog, you know. I’m not that stupid.) She tried her best, and she was fully committed as a mother. My sister and I were never anything less than her top priority. She loved us and raised us, and we both turned out to be (somewhat) decent human beings who can form complete sentences. I can only hope that I am as good of a mama as my mama has been for me. I was loved. I was nurtured. I was cared for. I don't thank my mother enough, so I'm thanking her here for the world (or the dozen people who actually read this) to see. Thank you Mama for all you have done and will continue to do for me! Happy (almost belated) Mother's Day! -Al