Today would have been my mom’s birthday if she were still alive. I spent a good portion of the day thinking about her (it’s a little hard not to on her birthday). There are moments when I still miss her so much it hurts. Today, however, was not one of those days. Today I just remembered all of the great times we had and how much fun she was. Today, I thought about how lucky I am to be her child.
There’s a line in Steel Magnolias (one of my mom’s favorite movies) that Shelby (Julia Roberts) says that I absolutely love, and I feel like it’s totally applicable:
I feel like I got a lot more than 30 minutes of wonderful. I got 18 years.
There are hundreds of things I could share about my mom, but I think I’ll just share a few of my very most favorite things. Here’s a little taste of my wonderful:
My mom loved unicorn pops (you know, the lollipops shaped like a unicorn’s horn?), orange kool-aid ice cubs, cocktail onions, crushed ice, gardenias and the color peach. Yep…she was a little quirky.
I could wake my mom up at any hour of the night or day (provided she could stay awake) just to tell her about my day. It didn’t matter if nothing happened. She would always listen.
She was an amazing seamstress. A week before the dance, I had finally found a dress for my senior year Homecoming, only to find out that my best friend, Ashley, had found and purchased the same dress. So, what did we do? My mom and I headed to the fabric store, found a pattern and some fabric and off she went. She was sewing the hem as my date was walking up to the door to pick me up, but it was perfect. (I don’t have a picture of the dress in digital form, but if I remember to scan it, I’ll put it in.)
We could always hear my mom coming home before we ever saw her. She would come tearing into our court in the “party van” with the windows down and Neil Diamond blaring!
“On the boats and on the planes…“
My mom had an open door policy at the house. I can’t tell you the number of times I would get home to find my friends already there.
My mom’s best friend, Sydne, is a florist and throughout my youth, my mom would help Sydne with weddings and boutiques. Along the way, she picked up a few things, so my senior year, she made our little flower crowns for the Homecoming game (a tradition for all of the senior cheer and song leaders). She made all seven of them (I think maybe I helped a little).
My mom taught me that the only way the shower is truly clean is if the water is sheeting down the tile. Not sheeting = not clean.
My mom also taught me how to make a bed with hospital corners and how to fold towels the right way.
My mom loved to travel and she instilled this same love in me.
I learned how to bake because my mom was always happy to have us in the kitchen.
Christmas was her favorite holiday. She would decorate the house to the hilt. We had wreaths and sleighs and Apple Dolls (yes, weird) every where. We decorated gingerbread houses (she made the actual gingerbread from scratch) every year. We helped her make toffee and caramel and fudge for our teachers and neighbors. And we always had two Christmas trees. One for us to decorate and one for her…it was always flocked (you can see it in the background of the picture…please ignore the girls in front of it…silly teenagers) and if we wanted to help with that tree it was her way or no way.
Speaking of Christmas…I snooped one year and told Ashley (she’s the top center…and happens to be Sydne’s daughter) what I saw. It was a little video camera with a t.v. for kids. Ashley told Sydne. Sydne told my mom and, guess what. No video camera was found under the tree. My mom believed in her principles…one of which was not snooping.
I learned, by example, how to apply all of my makeup while driving (because she was a firm believer in makeup and she was always running late…she would even curl her hair in the car…do you remember those butane curling irons?) and I think about her often as I apply my mascara in the car on my way to work.
Speaking of butane curling irons…I also learned that it is completely possible to camp (I mean real camping, out in the woods, under the stars) and still look good. Yep…curling irons at camp, no electricity necessary.
When I was little (and this was still legal), my mom would bake sugar cookies for my entire class on my birthday and then she would bring them in, along with enough little frosting filled decorating bags (I got to help make them out of parchment triangles) and she would help my entire class decorate cookies.
Summer was my mom’s favorite time of year. She loved that we were home from school. She loved being in the pool. And she loved the warm feeling of a mild sunburn.
My mom taught swim lessons for years (long before I came along), but she would never get her hair wet. And when summer was approaching, she would buy one bathing suit in five different colors (yep, that’s where I get it from) and she would make sure that she had watches and flip-flops (although, we called them “thongs” then) to match.
My mom taught me about faith and kindness. Her two favorite sayings were, “It always works out.” and “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.” She also taught me about the value of a good man, “It’s just as easy to fall in love with someone rich as it is to fall in love with someone poor.” Of course, she was kidding about the last one (kind of).
Okay…there are about 500 other things I could share, but for today, the last thing I want to share is that my mom taught me, by example, the most important part of being a mom…to make sure that your children always know how important you are and how much you love them.