Monday, May 13, 2013

Momila's Day

I couldn't remember that it was mother's day. Certainly not in any amount of time to plan anything in advance. I booked a photoshoot in DC the morning of mother's day - that's how much I was paying attention to a day to honor my mother (or better yet, to have those stretch-mark-makers honor me). No brunches for me. No on-time presents for my mom. Ooops.

But my mom remembered. A few days ago, an amazon gift card was in my email with a note telling me how much she loved me as a mom. Of course she did. Damn it. And AMAZON, too. Which is basically the greatest gift ever. Shopping that arrives in two days. Nothing beats that. But damn it, if I'm going to forget, I'd really like it if my mom forgot too so I feel less like an asshole. A mutual boycott of a Hallmark holiday just seems so much better than being the daughter who dropped the ball on a special day.

But, as these things tend to do, feeling like an asshole got me thinking. Really thinking. About her. And who she is. And who she's been to me. Thinking through life with your mother is rather fascinating in the way you have such drastically conflicting memories of her. When you are a child, your mother is perfect, flawless and right.  She is the super hero of your life. And when you are an adult, she is this complex, deep and real person. Someone who is so much more than just YOU but at the same time, someone who is so eerily, exactly you. She becomes this person you just really want to know. Knowing her means knowing you.

It's impossible to write about how wonderful this woman is... writing the words, "my mom is the best" puts her into a category with every other mother. And that would be wrong. She's more than the best. Way more.

My mom is the purple carpet that I chose for my bedroom as a girl. She is every creative and perfectly wonderful and different choice I've made in life because when I dreamed of purple carpet... I got it. Things like resale value was never, ever more important than purple carpet.

She is the cookie dough that never made it into the oven because we ate it all. She is the raw eggs, sugar and bleached flour... eaten over giggles and licked off beater attachments.

She is the steak and baked potato picnics we'd have on the tv room floor in front of old movies on AMC.

She is my 9:30am phone call on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I am starting my drive to take Henry to school when school started at 9:30. She is where my late came from. Late is really not a big deal. It's just 15 minutes. Or 30. Or sometimes 45.  Or it's a blog post on the day after mother's day.

She is the trips to the bookstore at 8pm on schoolnights. She is the sitting on the floor with books in our laps trying to decide on the next story that will take us on an adventure. She is the two books I left with because choosing one was too hard.

She is the hot baths she takes that I put my feet in and tell her about my life, my ideas and my boys.

She is the strength of her hand as she held mine when I was crushed by teenage pain and she is the grip of her palm on my leg as I gave birth to my children.

She is her booming laughter that you can hear from any part of the house. The loud, delighted laughter that when you're not with her, you can hear in your head and you can see how she is putting her hand to her chest and throwing her head back. She is the laughter that when it's directed at you, you feel like the most interesting and wonderful person in the world because you made her laugh.

She is the counters we sit on for chats in the kitchen and the tabletops we climb on for birthdays and Christmas. She is the floor she lays on to read her newspaper that no one can stand to let her do alone because you want her attention for yourself. She is the six inches of the edge of her bed where I climb in and she wraps her arm all the way around me and tucks back under my chest so that I'm held so tight, I couldn't fall off.

My mom is the intuition that knows the difference in the tone of my voice from just my "hello" when she answers the phone. She immediately knows that someone is sleeping, I'm in the middle of something, something is wrong, something is great or I'm on the verge of tears. She. Just. Knows.

She is Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" that we dance wildly to on the couch in our 1986 living room.

She is the spilled milk that we don't cry over.

She is the teal carpet in my childhood home that I just desperately wanted to be beige like ALL the other people in all the other houses. She is every mismatched decoration that she buys - not because it "goes" but because she LOVES it. She is the living you do for yourself and not others. She is what makes her happy. She is perfect teal carpet.

She is the slight tickle on my knee or the scratch on the top of my head that she does in passing that drives me utterly crazy that I immediately swat it away. But after the swat, she is my smile because I hate it but I love her.

She is not Grandma or Grammila. She is "Blah". Because a 14-month-old baby boy started saying it trying to mimic a sound she always made for him... and to her, that's the best name she could ever take - the one she was specially given. It would never and could never matter to her that it makes no sense to anyone else but us. She is the personalized license plate that says "Blah Times 3" that she will send back and renew to "Blah Times 4" because she has another grandchild that she refuses to leave out.

She is Diet Coke and brilliance and navy blue and peanut m&ms and shelves of cookbooks. She is fast internet and the latest technology and driving with the windows down. She is dishes that pile in the sink because she's too busy putting more important things first. She is the beauty AND the brains. She is a ball buster and a glass ceiling breaker. She is everything you say she can't do that she does, and does well. She is the deep thought she's having when she gets lost in outer space. She is sensitive, vulnerable and fragile but doesn't want you to know. She is double masters degrees and a lover of murder-mystery novels. She is the icing, not the cake. She is the giant heart that can't bear to see someone hurting. She is her closed-tight eyes when something's scary. She is Texas Hold Em poker and chicken scratch and shuffleboard. She is the $5 she wants to take from you when she wins. She is telling the truth, silliness, loud kisses, spending money on moments and having fun. She is the picture of the family dinner with no one looking and food in your cheeks that she takes because we are all there. Together.

She is the reason that I feel like I'm a good mother. She is everything I like most about myself.

She is real, and flawless, and flawed, and complex, and beautiful, and my super hero.

My mom is the best.

Happy Mother's Day, Momila. I'm sorry I'm late.


  1. You are a great writer and a great daughter! Well done.

  2. And she is the one that cries at her daughter's beautiful, beautiful present.