Sunday, May 8, 2011

For My Mom on Mother's Day

For Mother's Day I thought I'd list a bunch of memories about my mom.

I wish I could think back and remember my first memory.  My mom said that when I was born, she'd talk to me all the time.  She always wanted to make sure that I knew her voice and that she loved me.

I'm pretty sure that her reading to me every night before I went to sleep is the reason I that I majored in Literature.  She'd read me stories from the Bible, Greek and Roman myths, nursery rhymes, Aesop's fables, and all sorts of fairy tales.  I basically took a course in Western Literature that lasted throughout my childhood.

We used to listen to comedy tapes in the car, which of course had its fair share of adult-themed material.  I remember asking my mom what a blow job was.  She said she wouldn't tell me until I was ten, I think.  Finally, and unfortunately for my mom, I remembered when I was old enough and I asked her again.  Remember, this was the days before internet, so I couldn't just go google it.
"You're going to say 'ew.'"
"No I won't, tell me!"
"Yes, you will."
"I promise I won't!"
My mom was even kind enough to clean it up for me a little bit.
"It's when a woman kisses a man's penis."
She glanced over at me and saw the look on my face.
"It's fine. You can say 'ew.'"
"EWWWWWWW!"

I remember I'd always be calling for her.  "Moom! Moooooom!" I'd yell.  One day my dad said, "You know what 'Mom' means?  It means, 'Stop what you're doing and do something for me.' " I felt really guilty.  From then on I tried to mix in my "Mom! I can't find my ___"s with "Mom! Just wanted to tell you I love you."

My mom used to have this huge red knee-length jacket. I used to hide under the back of it when she was wearing it.
"Hey, Mom?" I'd ask her.  "Do you think this makes people think you have four legs?"
"No, of course not," she said.
"I dunno," I replied from under the jacket. "I think it does."
I'm sure it was loads of fun to have a four-year-old in the back of her jacket while she shopped, but she let me stay back there as long as it entertained me.

My mom would always wear pretty brooches as a finishing touch to her business suits.  For a couple birthdays or Christmases, I found brooches that I thought were so beautiful.  Like her brooches, they had lovely multicolored stones, and I thought they'd be perfect for her.  She wore them frequently and would show me proudly every time she did.  Several years passed and then probably when I was in college, I was going through her jewelry and saw the brooches I had bought for her so long ago.  They were hideous.  Made of poorly cut, crazy multicolored plastics and glass, these pieces of jewelry could only be described as abominations.  I showed them to my mom and told her, "Wow, you must really love me."

I remember telling her when I was little that I loved her so much that I hoped when I had a little girl when I grew up that she would love me as much as I loved her.

My mom used to like to hide and when I'd look for her, she'd jump out and scare me. This one time she was hiding behind the door in my parents' bedroom. I looked for her for what seemed like forever and I started to get really upset that I couldn't find her.  Finally, as a frustrated, sad, five or six-year-old, I stood in the doorway of their room, staring down the hallway and screamed the first thing that came into my little brain.

"MEAN FACE!"

I found her because she started laughing so hard from behind the door in the doorway I was standing in that she couldn't contain herself.

I remember we'd always have tickle fights until she was crying from laughter.

I remember I'd wake up in the morning on weekends and sometimes I'd be waking up from a nightmare.  My voice would be weak, but I'd say, "Mooooomiiiiie.  Moooooomiiie" in a sing-songy voice, like I'd always done since I was a toddler.  She'd always come in and rescue me.

One time I kept hearing this weird scary sound every time I'd be on the verge of falling asleep. I finally got up and went to my parents' room.  She was still up reading with her tiny night light on.

"Mom, I keep hearing this really scary sound when I fall asleep and it wakes me up."
"What is it?"
"I don't know... it's really scary."
"What does it sound like?"
"It's kind of like this...[snoring sound] OHMYGOD THAT'S IT!"

She didn't stop laughing until there were tears streaming down her face. 

I remember her coming in in the morning to give me a hug before work.  She'd leave her lipstick out of her makeup routine before she'd come in so she could give me a kiss without getting makeup on me.  I remember always thinking that she looked so beautiful in her makeup and suits, and that she smelled so nice for work.  I wanted to wear her perfume when I got a bit older because I liked it so much.  But, really I think it probably just reminded me of her.

I remember when I got into my teenage years, I hated waking up in the morning, and she'd turn the music on loud and sing with the song playing to me.  I'd get pretty mad at her.

I remember when I finally got chicken pox when I was fourteen, she was on a business trip somewhere.  I tried to trick her when she called home to talk to my dad and me.

"Hey Mom, if I was really sick would you come home?"
"Yes, of course."
"What if I had chicken pox? Would you come home?"
"Yes."
"Ha! I have chicken pox, you have to come home!"
"I am coming home.  I'm coming home Thursday [or whatever day she was scheduled to come home]."

Darn it.  My mom is tricky.

I remember on weekends it would always smell like coffee and the pre-packaged tube home-bake cinnamon rolls.  Cinnamon rolls are my mom's favorite.  Sometimes it would smell like corned beef hash or sausages.

My mom always likes to play games.  She still takes anyone down in Scrabble that is foolish enough to play with her.  Despite me being a Literature major, she always makes fun of my lack of vocabulary.

Sometimes on my days off from school, I'd get to go with her to work and sit in her big office.  When she'd go to meetings I would hide notes around her desk for her to find later.  One of the notes had silly things written in phonetic Chinese.  My mom told me when she found it, a Chinese co-worker of hers was in her office and my mom couldn't stop laughing when she read it to her.  I'm pretty sure it said something about "chao pais" [stinky farts], but I can't remember the rest.

I remember I was always sad that my mom couldn't be a room mother when I was in elementary school.  She was always working.  I loved when she'd drop me off at school every once in a great while, or for some reason had to make an appearance.  She'd be in her business suits and makeup and I was always so proud of my pretty, professional mom.

I never really understood what a career meant until I was in my years at college. And then, because she'd worked so hard, she was retiring.  I made a joke at her retirement dinner during a speech that I opted to give for her that I guessed it was Murphy's Law that as soon as your daughter understands why you dedicate so much time to your career, which is time not spent with her, you retire.  Sometimes I think it's a little crazy to have given a speech to a banquet hall filled with my mom's co-workers about my mom at twenty years old, but then I think there was no other option.  I was always embarrassed, yet thankful that every one of my mom's co-workers would say something similar when I'd meet them.

"Oh, this must be Stacey! I've heard so much about you! Your mom talks about you all the time."  And then they'd ask me about something that she'd told them.

It's weird to have so many strangers know so much about you, but then, I suppose you're not a stranger to them.  My mom loved the people she worked with, and took care of them because that's the way she always has been - selfless and always trying to better things for others.  She treated them like her family.  I like to think I learned that from her.  So, when I gave that speech, I knew that I wasn't giving it to strangers; I was giving it to family.  And I had to tell my family what a great mom I had on her last day with them all. 

I remember when I dated a man who didn't treat me very well.  I didn't have enough confidence to think I could be with someone who would treat me better.  My mom tried to explain to me over and over that I could do better, that I deserved someone who wasn't so selfish. She loved me so much and never stopped telling me what a good person I was, and how my significant other should be a better match for me.  She tried so hard to protect me, but I wouldn't hear it.  All I knew was that someone finally loved me and that she was trying to ruin it for me. I made my mom cry for the first time and it still breaks my heart every time I think about it.  My mom always wants the best for me, but at the time, I just didn't think I deserved it.  It doesn't matter how many times I say I'm sorry. It still makes me feel like the worst daughter in the world.

Even though I may not always treat her the way she deserves, I have the best mom in the world.  I may not be able to make up for saying the horrible things that made her cry, but I know thankfully, that because she's the best mom in the world, that's not the thing she thinks about.  I like to think she thinks about all the times I made her cry from laughing so hard instead.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! I love you!

P.S. Sorry for all the times that I was a mean face.

4 comments:

  1. Stacey - How eloquent -I love this. Lucky Daughter - lucky Mom - xox Kathy

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  2. Thank you for this wonderful mom's day gift--I laughed and sniffled...I am so lucky to have you as my nui...

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  3. aw, this is super sweet! what a nice read.

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