"There's no reason to become alarmed, and we hope you'll enjoy the rest
of your flight. By the way, is there anyone on board who knows how to
fly a plane? "
- Airplane, 1980
Friday, December 21, 2012
A few years ago, as her Mother's Day present, I wrote a magazine article about my mom that ran as a two-page spread on Mother's Day. For months, women would come up to me and tear up while telling me how much that reminded them of their mother, their relationship. It was a great honor to write it but a greater honor to be the daughter of such an amazing Mom so that I could write it.
So, because I just want to gush over her a bit, here's the article text. And, Mom, just for you, thank you. A thousand times. For ten thousand different things. You've got the hardest job in the world, and I've never seen anyone as soft, while equally tough, as you do this job better. When I grow up, I want to be just like you.
So much love,
your grateful daughter.
Just Like Your Mother
I don't remember the first time we met. First impressions are important, but I was somewhat preoccupied at the time recovering from birth and all. There was this whole wide world out there to see, food to taste, air to breathe, crying to do, sleep to be had, fingers to discover. It wasn't a good time to remember meeting someone, not even someone as significant as my mother.
But every year on my birthday, she recalls that fateful morning, "I started having labor pains at 2 am..." and that's where our story begins.
We went through a rough first couple of years - her trying to figure me out, me doing the same. She did most of the talking. I just sort of blinked, mumbling odd noises from time to time.
Eventually, we figured out a mother-daughter language and have been speaking it ever since.
When people ask me about my mother, I usually elevate my voice level to this slightly higher pitched, wispy tone where I give my impression of her saying, "Well, hello there and how are you? Isn't this a wonderful day? Isn't life just marvelous? Is there anything I can do for you?" I make her sound very innocent, very loving, and, as she has pointed out, rather stupid.
She is not, nor could ever be surmised, as lacking in intelligence. She's a voracious reader, theological addict, knows every move in the national political arena before George W. does, a woman's bible study leader, recreates heaven with a non-stick frying pan and flour, loves the outdoors and all things green, can turn chaos into comfort, and makes a room more like home just by walking into it. And she does everything with a smile and pleasant attitude.
She is Mom.
She is this mystic creature that can handle all things great and small. She knows when to hug me, when to simply listen, when to smooth the hair from my face and pat my arm, when I need to hear laughter, when to call, and what to say to always make me stop, make me think, make me evolve into someone a little deeper, a little kinder, a little more capable of being called her daughter. She is wonderful.
There are few magical memories of my childhood that did not revolve around my mother. She made things happen: You want to create? Let's make play dough. You want to paint? I have it all ready. You want to turn the living room into the planet Nooron where aliens resembling fuzzy bunnies live? Clean it up after you've landed back on earth.
Days with her were timeless lessons of morality and judgment, all taught in the classroom of her kitchen while rolling pie crust or snapping green beans. To me, she seemed to know everything and explained it all in my language. At the time, I thought I was speaking on her level. Eventually, I learned she was speaking on mine.
When the teenage years came, I learned a few inarguables:
First, never talk back to mother. She has a third arm hidden for just such occasions. She medaled in backhanding, winning the Tour de yur Face.
Second, you can't make it out the door before she comments on your clothes and hair. Forget arguing. It's a waste of breath. Just pull your skirt down, your hair back, and that sour expression off your face.
Third, no one cares about your broken heart more than Mom. She's never too busy or too tired to mend your hurting. Keep her up all night crying. She'll make your favorite breakfast the next morning.
I spent my childhood trying to hurry up and outgrow her, be my own woman, be different than her while being just like her. As an adult, I finally get it. I'll never be her. I couldn't on my best days. She is Mom and there is no comparison.
Instead, I admire her, how she can touch anyone with just a soft expression, how people gravitate to her for comfort, how she gives of herself without pity or complaint, how her mashed potatoes are always creamy. She has taught me a few things in life, none more important than honest devotion to my Savior. And then she leads by example.
So for my mother and all other mothers keeping us in awe and wonder at the richness of your heart, Happy Mother's Day. You helped us dream big.
Thanks Mom. I just love the fact that you are you.