Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Mom Rocks! (OR, This Explains A Lot About Me, Doesn't It?)

Mamas, if they are good ones, are always picking us up, dusting us off and patting us on the backs. Although I'm (gulp) 40, my mom still sings my praises. Man, do I have her fooled or what?! Regardless, I love her (and dad) dearly for continually supporting and encouraging me.

Look. I'm completely unbiased, but she really is the best mom in the world. Sorry if that makes your mom sub par, but I just tell it like it is. Don't blame the messenger.

Need supporting evidence? Here are just a few of the many, many reasons why my Mom is the best: 

She's my biggest fan. When I was a little girl, Mom sat through numerous dance, piano and clarinet practices and recitals. Although I clearly sucked at all of those things, Mom never complained about the time or money, always applauded enthusiastically and made me feel like a super star (<--- say that with Mary Katherine Gallagher-like emphasis, please). I think she also thought the years of ballet would keep me from falling down stairs so often. Someone owes her a refund.

She has mad driving skillz. When I turned 10, Mom took me to an area mall to shop for my birthday presents. For some strange reason, a big chain drug store in the mall was selling hamsters (do hamsters serve medicinal purposes? Is that why Richard Gere used them? Hamster colonics?). I looked up at Mom with my much-practiced, big, brown puppy-dog eyes expression and she actually fell for it and bought me a hamster. During our 30-minute drive home - at night - during a storm - the hamster chewed his way out of the drug store's cardboard container and scampered around the car, just as we were crossing a long bridge high over a river. Miraculously, Mom didn't lose control of the car in spite of torrential rain, our screams and a hyper, panicked rodent underfoot.  

She's always "Doing it All for My Baby." Mom went through what she refers to as her "MTV phase" with her four kids during the '80s. She would sit glued to the tube and occasionally yell things like, "KIDS! Come quick! They're showing 'Thriller' again!" She also developed a crazy mad crush on Huey Lewis and would drop whatever she was doing to run into the TV room and dance during his videos. Yeah. I didn't bring friends home with me much during those days, but I appreciated having a mom in the Bible Belt who didn't think music videos were evil.  

She weathers the storms with grace. For my 13th birthday, Mom begrudgingly let me have a slumber party and invite all my girlfriends - both those I was close to and those I hoped to impress. She somehow piled a dozen of us into her Datsun hatchback (clown car, anyone?) and, with various adolescent limbs in her face and on her lap, drove us to the movies during a tornado outbreak. She wasn't comfortable with this arrangement, but I told her we HAD to go to the movies or I would forever be dubbed as the loser who threw the lamest birthday party ever. Later that night, Mom and Dad came downstairs when the storm sirens sounded and discovered a couple of 13-year-old boys hiding in the basement. Ummmmm. I don't know how they got there. (My friends were slutty). Although I was never allowed to have another slumber party, Mom calmly sent the intruders home and did not embarrass me in front of my friends. 

She keeps me grounded. My mom grounded me for the entire summer vacation when I was a rebellious 15-year-old who was getting in over my stupid teen-age head. My older brother (punk) ratted me out and told her that a friend and I tied bedsheets together and climbed out of my second-story window to sneak out with boys (are you seeing a pattern here?). That was the last straw in a long list of teen-age offenses, and I was grounded for two whole months. Truth is, I was relieved - even grateful - for the punishment. I knew I was headed for trouble, and Mom gave me the perfect excuse to get out of it. I probably pouted and didn't thank her at the time, so I will now. Thanks for the boundaries, Mom. 

She understands hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.  The first time a (dumb) boyfriend broke my heart, I cried all day and told Mom I would feel so much better if I could take all of our relationship mementos and throw them in his face. Much to my surprise, she told me to gather his things in a grocery sack and meet her in the car. We drove slowly into his neighborhood, looking over our shoulders like two criminals as we approached his house. When no cars were around, she handed me the bag and said, "Go for it!" I jumped out and trashed his yard with love notes, photos, t-shirts and other relationship paraphernalia as Mom cheered me on from the sidelines. Satisfied, I jumped back in the car, tires squealed and Mom sped off like a mad woman. We laughed all the way home. It was considerably more therapeutic than ice cream. 

 She's good clean fun. After my sophomore year in college, I told Mom I wanted to get out of the dorms and move into my own apartment. She was concerned, but she supported me, even convincing my wary dad that I could handle the responsibility of being on my own. I couldn't afford a nice place by myself, and I noticed my parents' horrified expression as they drove me and all my belongings up to a decrepit white house with peeling paint, sagging gutters and cracked windows (sadly, that was its better side). Mom and I spent the entire day scrubbing every square inch of that filthy, roach-motel apartment and sprucing it up with plants, curtains, fresh bedding and pictures. By the time we finished, the apartment had come such a long way that we kept walking around it, marveling at our handiwork. To celebrate our inner Martha Stewarts, we went to eat at a local Italian restaurant, but we were so utterly exhausted from the day of moving, cleaning and decorating, that neither of us could summon the energy to talk. When we both nearly crashed face-first into our plates of spaghetti, we burst into a delirious fit of laughter and couldn't stop. Mom spent that first night with me, and we woke up in a terrible, but sparkling-clean apartment. As she and Dad pulled away the next morning, I'll never forget her looking back over her shoulder and waving. It was the first time I truly felt on my own in the world, and thanks to her, I was ready for it.

She shoots for the stars. Mom is a total lightweight and mostly goody two-shoes who rarely partakes of alcohol. On a trip to Florida, Mom and I packed some wine down to the beach, where we sat sipping and talking. After a couple of glasses, we decided to head back to our condo, which was on the building's second floor. We began to ascend the stairs, and I stopped at the appropriate landing, but Mom kept climbing ... and climbing. I asked her where she was going and she said, "Back to the condo! Where are you going?" I swear, she would have climbed all the way to the top if I hadn't retrieved her. Good times. Good times.

She's duckin' funny. My older sister moved into a lovely house in a beautiful country club neighborhood that backs up to a golf course - you know, the kind of neighborhood with very strict association guidelines about what can and can't be placed outside the home. So what did Mom and I do to welcome her to her new home? We went to the local Big Lots and bought the tackiest yard decor we could find: a big, concrete, bright yellow duck with googly eyes and an animated, cartoonish face. When my sister was out of her home one afternoon, we snuck over and placed the duck prominently on her porch, then giggled and high-fived each other like school kids as we drove away. Thankfully, my sister has a wonderful sense of humor and kept the duck (but moved it to the back deck).

She always has time for me. Mom and I were leisurely perusing a large big-box sort of store one Sunday afternoon, picking up gardening supplies and  thoroughly enjoying our day of bargain shopping. Our cart was nearly full when a store employee came down the aisle, a bewildered expression on his face. "Excuse me, ladies," he said, "But what in the world are you doing here?" Duh. What a moron. Rolling our eyes, we told him we were shopping, of course. And that's when he told us the store had been closed for nearly an hour, and we needed to leave. Oops.

She's got the write stuff. I love plenty of writers, but my mom is my favorite. She's a newspaper columnist who has a tremendous gift with words. She has long been considered another Erma Bombeck, and my childhood antics (and those of my siblings) were often reported in our local newspaper. Yep, she even wrote about the time I jumped off the carport roof at 13 and left my shorts dangling on a nail. You know how much fun it is to be a very sensitive eighth-grader and have the entire school know I was rolling around in my underwear and crying for my mommy? I'm not remotely bitter, mind you, but have you read the story about her Christmas grape tree?

She's still got it. Last but not least, she wrote me this encouraging email about the Porch just last night. It might be the last one she writes me, once she realizes I'm using her messages for blog fodder. Sorry, Mom, but that's a chance I'll have to take:

I was just catching up with your blog and as always am amazed at your spectacular writing and wit. I keep thinking, "Why didn't I write that?" But then again, I can always steal it. Copyright, schmapywrite.
There was one disappointment, however.
I thought you were referring to an entirely different kind of PENIS, so I was avidly reading along, even skipping whole groups of words to get to the dirty part.
What a bummer.

Love you,

Of course, I told her I was sorry the PENIS didn't satisfy her and that she'd better not think for one second that just because she's my mom, I won't sue her ass if she steals from me.

Like I said, we're close like that.

No comments:

Post a Comment