Today I thought I write about my mom. I know she knows that I love her, but I don’t think she realizes how much of who I am today is because of her.
When my brother and I were kids, we had this mammoth garden. Well, it seemed mammoth at the time, 2 football stadiums long at least. During growing season, every weekend and all summer long, we were supposed to go out and weed a row or two. We also watered the plants bucket by bucket every Monday, Wednesday and Friday evening. Being older and wiser than my brother, I always tried to get my weeding done before 9 am because it was hotter after that. Whereas, my brother was just rolling out of bed at 9 am and grumped about, sometimes never even getting around to weeding his row. Hmm, I wonder who was the smarter one after all? Anyway, those gardening skills sure have been useful trying to eek out an existence here in Mexico over the years. Thank you, mom.
My mom paid $5 every Monday for me to take piano lessons for 6 years. I bellyached and complained about practicing and tried to skate through each Monday’s lesson knowing I could have played better had I just spent a little more time banging out songs during the week. My brother and mom would disappear someplace during that very long 30 minutes and sometimes were late picking me up and I had to wait hours in the cold, shivering (or at least it seemed like hours, it was probably only 5 minutes or so) for them to come and get me. My piano has provided me endless hours of comfort since. Thank you, mom.
My mom would take my brother and me for these endless bike rides, or at least they seemed to last that long. She’d fill up her basket with wildflowers or maybe a cluster of wild grapes or elderberries. Our rides often passed the Women’s penitentiary and one time the police came to investigate thinking my mom in her striped purple polyester pants had escaped the compound. While the mountains hereabouts aren’t really bike friendly, I have been known to drag my husband and son on wildflower excursions. Thank you, mom.
While we had a dryer, more often than not our washed clothes were hung out on the line. The sun-kissed bed linens were just the thing to snuggle into at night. If was often my job to either hang or bring in the clothes. I am proud to say that here in Mexico, where a dryer is a rarity and everybody hangs stuff out, my clotheslines are a work of art. You wouldn’t believe how many items I can get to dry on one line. Another useful skill. Thank you, mom.
Eight grade Home Ec was a nightmare. I just could not get the seams to run straight. My mom spent extra time helping me fix my sewing mistakes and then over the summer, she had me learn how to run her old Singer sewing machine. I won’t say that it was my favorite memory–those hot, frustrating afternoons! Only, yet again, it has been a useful ability in my life in Mexico even if my seams still aren’t quite straight. Thank you, mom.
As an awkward teenager, my mom took the time to help me find makeup that complimented my coloring and clothes that flattered my figure. We scoured Goodwill and clearance racks looking for quality material, then bought shoes and earrings to create outfits that bolstered my confidence. While I don’t wear much makeup these days, when I do, I use the same techniques my mother taught me. And while I don’t do much shopping either, I know how to search out quality and have used that skill to clothe my family. Thank you, mom.
Things aren’t so easy here in Mexico, as you might well imagine. Sometimes it’s downright difficult. When a friend commented that she admired the strength and grace with which I was able to deal with adversity, I told her I had learned it from my mom. So thank you, mom, for all that you did to create the woman and mother than I have become. Thank you for giving me my independence and teaching me how to create a life of beauty even in the middle of nowhere. I couldn’t have done it without you.