My mom and I and Dot are all pretty close. Three generations of women living in close proximity (don’t forget the five female felines!). Mom lives alone, just down the street, but we’re at each other’s house often enough. We talk every day, often. Our houses even have the same floor plan, but reversed. (That explains why we zig when we think we should zag.)
It’s pretty hilarious when I call my mom and we both have the same topics in our heads. We both want to make mac-n-cheese on Saturday. We both watch the same news, listen to the same music (Charlie Rich, Jimmy Dean, and Sinatra… now that’s music!). We both order the same QVC kitchen product, at the same time. We both have the same ideas about home decor, although her theme is Country Spring and mine is Coffee House Autumn colors. Even some of our furniture is the same (she likes white, I prefer dark mocha colors). Not all of this is planned. We just like the same things. We just have the same views on life. We are distinctly different, and wonderfully in sync.
Now, I’m not saying we’re identical. She won’t go to Disneyland with us. I don’t read the papers like her. She doesn’t rock out to the Backstreet Boys and I’m not too successful at gardening. We don’t spend every single moment together. She kicks me and Dot out of her house when she’s tired, and I send her packing when it’s time to watch “Friends” with my daughter. We do separate and have our own lives. We just share them with each other. A lot.
My mom’s turned into my best friend. I wouldn’t be who I am without my Mom. She instilled my love of words. I can’t remember her not reading to us as children, or giving books as toys.
I remember once when I was about seven, she came home from the store and gave my brothers toys. Things they could play with, interact with. And I got a Golden Book, something about a puppy. I was so upset. You can’t play with a book. You can’t make it climb things like a stuffed animal. You can’t build with it like Legos. And so I cried.
Until Mom came over and opened the cover, and asked me to read the first page. Aloud. Without realizing it, I had been swept into a world of saving the puppy, or the puppy saving something else, I forget. What I do remember is the feeling of freedom. While my brothers were confined to the physical attributes of their toys, I had the whole world in my hand. I had an adorably soft little critter who looked at me with his tiny eyes. I had the power to help him on his page-turning journey. I had imagination. I went to sleep that night holding my book. I dreamt of the puppy and our adventures together. The next day, I took out my stuffed animals and reenacted the story.
Indeed, my Mom gave me much more than words on paper that day. She gave me life.
There is no greater thrill I have then my mom’s daily phone calls after she’s read my blog or whatever other writings I’ve sent her way, and to hear her say, “You did good today.” It’s those little backpats that make it worthwhile. Because while I write because I can’t not write; and I write because I was born to write; it’s not her approval I’m after. It’s because I love her and the way she raised me that I write, and try to write well. I’m proud of my mom. I love my mom.
And this is my way of returning the world to her. This is my way of saying, “Yes, I can be the person you raised me to be.” This is my way of letting her know she did good, too.
Thanks, Mom. I heart you.