- At Home
I started this post about my Mom around Mother’s Day. My intention was to post it as small gift to my Mom, but my sister Aimee blew it for me, since she went and wrote a book for my mother. YES, A BOOK. How the hell is a blog post supposed to compare to a book? So I kept it till this week to honor my Mother for her birthday.
But then my insecurities came rushing forward and I thought people would think that this post would be lip service because of the post about my dad. Then I thought, well, if anyone really thinks that they can go scratch their ass. My mom would be happy for me for thinking that way.
Nevertheless, do ya think a Birthday trumps Mother’s Day? Think about it and get back to me.
A few months back at my nephew’s communion, my family as all families do, was sitting around the table yucking it up about some of our most famous family tales. You know, the ones that make you laugh from your belly or cringe from head to toe. The most memorable stories centered around my mother, a strong Italian woman that tolerates no bullshit, is unapologetically herself all the times, and if you cross her once, you’re done forever. FOREVER.
As we were laughing, cringing, and reliving these sweet memories, my mom was hearing our version perhaps for the first time and she was now seeing herself through the eyes of her daughters. After the party, as we were saying our goodbye’s, my mom said to me, “Was I that bad of a mother?” I was in shock and responded, “Are you out of your mind? You are the best mom there is. We wouldn’t be the girls we are without you at the helm.”
And then I went home and continued to think about that question. It haunted me. Of course I cried. I didn’t want my mom to think that way, at all. The stories we were telling would definitely raise the eyebrows of the I-love-my-kids-more-than-you-and-will-do-anything-to-make-them-happy-even-if-it-means-scarficing-my-life-savings-dignity-and-discpline Moms of my generation.
Ya see, my mom ruled with an iron fist, and her threats were never empty. I was told that I’d be pulled from the swim team if I failed a test and guess who stopped swimming. I was told that I had to pass Social Studies or I wouldn’t go on the family vacation. Apparently they had a great time at Bush Gardens. You’d think I’d learn from her because now with my children, my threats are as see-through as Swiss cheese, but that’s a whole different post.
My mom raised five incredible girls (if I dare say so myself), while my parents managed my father’s Multiple Sclerosis. Now as a parent, I can understand how scary the unknown must have been. Imagine going to doctor after doctor to try and determine why your husband was sick while doing the laundry, making the meals, and trying all sorts of home-remedies to make your husband better. We were eating soy muffins and pancakes long before it was "in". Hell, I took a soybean and tofu sandwich to second grade (1977), eons before Dr. Oz was alive. My mom raised five girls with a nine year spread from youngest to oldest and cleaned the house, ensured that the homework was done, ran to the dentist, orthodontist, cheering, basketball, swimming, and girl scouts. You name it, she did it.
My mom multi-tasked before multi-tasked was considered a term.
And yes, my mom ruled the roost better than Mussolini. Her signature scent was bleach like Liz Taylors is White Diamonds and she could spot a dust bunny in my bedroom on the third floor while she folded the clothes in the basement. One day she was so mad at my sister she threw her stiletto at her so hard and fast, rivaling any of Mariano Rivera’s pitches. Once, she left me a note, at the tender age of 16, to tar the driveway, as in blacktop the driveway. A “normal household” would usually hire someone else to do it, not their 16-year old daughter who wanted to frolick at the beach. These things although seeming unreasonable at the time made us strong, capable women.
If my mom didn’t have a tight control on these things life our life would have spiraled out of control. My father’s MS progressed rapidly. And watching her husband’s condition worsen as the years went by, my mom had to change lanes faster than Mario Andretti. Adapting to my father walking with a cane, then a walker, and off in a wheelchair, while configuring a home to make it handicap accessible, she managed it all. Okay, we were little soldiers and helped out, but if my mom didn’t have us cook, clean, iron how the hell could she get it all done?
But as much as she was a tough cookie growing up, she also had fun. A rough tough cream puff that's sensitive and smart as a whip. My mom has also taught me a lot, and in fact is still teaching me. I just hope I can be as strong as a mom to my children as she
was is to me.
Here are some of the things my Mom has taught me:
• Respect yourself and respect others.
• Anything can be ironed, even your pajamas.
• You are strong and capable of more than you think you are.
• Kill everyone with kindness.
• Education is everything.
• Moldings and walls can be cleaned.
• When life throws you lemons, throw them right back.
• Always wear clean underwear.
• Stick up for yourself.
• How to make a meatloaf, stuffed artichokes, and a mean marinara sauce.
• Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
• Think for yourself.
• Have some money on the side because you never know what life may bring you.
• Trust yourself, and your instincts.
• And of course, bleach cleans everything.
Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you!
So, what do you think? Does a Birthday trump Mother’s Day?