Posts Tagged ‘mom’
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there.
As you might know, my mother’s no longer with us. She died in 2003. That was 11 years ago? Wow. It doesn’t seem possible that she’s been gone so long.
Maybe that’s because I always carry her with me, courtesy of all the lessons she taught me over the years.
Before I was born, my mom taught English and math—to high school students. I can’t imagine. Seems like they’d be the worst age to handle, with all the raging hormones, overwrought teen drama and bad attitude. But she seemed to have liked it—and her students seemed to have fond memories of her, too. (I went to school with a lot of the kids of the kids she taught.)
Among her lessons:
1. Reading is fun.
I can’t count the number of times I saw my mom with a book. She was always reading, everything from classic Updike to Danielle Steel. It was the influence of her and my dad, another voracious reader, that got me reading at age 4. My parents read all the time and I wanted to be like them, so they taught me to sound it out.
2. Butter cookies rule.
There are two types of people in the world: Sugar cooke folks and butter cookie fans. Our family falls into the latter category. Mom’s butter cookie recipe, which she got from her mom (who apparently shared it with Kelly Ripa), is flaky, crisp and just sweet enough.
About Kelly Ripa: I’ll never forget Mom calling me, excited because Kelly made her family’s favorite Christmas cookies on her show—and it was mom’s recipe that she shared. I guess Grandma got it off a box of butter or something?
Every year, after Mom baked the cookies (which I now know is a pain in the butt, rolling out the dough and cutting the shapes), she’d frost them while my brother and I decorated with sprinkles, colored sugar and other fun toppings. (My fave was the tiny candies shaped like flowers.)
3. Live life—and attack problems—with humor.
This is probably the biggie. My mother had a great sense of humor. She was the mom who sat in the back of the band bus and told jokes, or sat around the Girl Scout campfire telling funny stories.
She laughed a lot, and was first to deflect sadness with a joke or smile. Er, actually my whole family is like that. I remember when Dad died, my brother, cousins and I broke from the funeral home for pizza, and laughed jokes and funny stories until our sides ached.
Laugh through the tears, I guess.
Wikipedia tells me it was Ella Wheeler Wilcox, a Wisconsinite, who wrote “laugh and the world laughs with you.”
Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth
But has trouble enough of its own.
— From “The Way of the World,” a poem (1883)
That may well be—but my mother lived it.
I, for one, am glad, because I got my sense of humor from her. I’m quick to laugh and I crack jokes at what some people might call inappropriate times.
Every time a line in one of my books makes a reader laugh out loud, I hope she hears it and knows that she had a hand in making the world a happier place.
When the universe starts talking, you listen.
Actually, I’m not sure if it’s just that the universe is talking or if I’m just more inclined to listen now that I’ve made the decision to take the self-publishing plunge.
Or maybe it’s really true that Sedona’s hippy-dippy, woo-woo psychic energy vortex has finally wormed its way into the fabric of my daily life.
Whatever the reason, I’ve been stumbling on more and more fuel to affirm my course. It started with that fortune-cookie message, but went on to infiltrate the bag of Dove Dark Chocolate/Caramel/Sea Salt candies I keep in my desk drawer at work.
Tuesday night, I found this one:
And Wednesday night, it was this message:
I snapped a picture of that one with a photo of me and my Mom in San Francisco (2003) because I think she’d approve of what I’m about to do. I just wish she were alive to see it.
Hopefully, she knows.
Prep work for my indie debut continues. I’m revising away on my MS and I’ll be signing with a graphic designer soon to redesign my website and unify my look across all platforms (Facebook, Twitter, blog, Google+).
It’s going to be a busy summer!
My four-legged fur children have no clue what day it is and my Mom died nearly a decade ago, so Mother’s Day is just another Sunday for me.
But this year, as I was looking for a card for the Boyfriend’s mother, I saw one that made me think of Mom and laugh.
I’d like to thank the makers of this card, because they get it. They know that not all mothers need sappy sentiment. My Mom would have assumed I was ill had I given her one of those “wishing you all the happiness in the world” cards.
In my family, laughter truly is the best medicine. We even told stories and laughed during visiting hours before my parents’ funerals.
Whether you laugh until it hurts or laugh to keep from crying, it’s good to throw back your head and have a good chortle every so often.
After all, you have to have a sense of humor to get through this joke we call life, right?
While celebrating my Golden Heart® finalist status in one of many phone calls over the weekend, my friend Pat said something that made me tear up a little. She said my mother would be proud.
That’s true. My mom, an English teacher before I came along, always encouraged me to write. When she died in 2003, I hadn’t yet accomplished anything in the fiction world (although I do think she watched me receive a first-place award from the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists for a series of stories on students peeved about a high school’s piercing policy).
Since her death, I’ve lost 100 pounds (and, unfortunately, regained most of it). I’ve found myself a significant other. I’ve finished more than one manuscript and — finally — gained the courage to start putting my fiction out there.
I experienced a moment of sadness that Mom didn’t live to see this moment. But I like to think she knows. Somehow, she knows … just like she knows I sit down and watch one of her favorite movies, “A Christmas Story,” at least once every year. (She grew up in Hammond, Ind., on the street Ralphie supposedly lived on.)