Mama’s boy … at least for Mother’s Day
Sunday is Mother’s Day, and every year I think about writing about my mom, then I run out of time, second-guess the “public display of sentimentality” dilemma and generally miss it. Well, this year is different.
It’s been a lot of years now since I lived with mom (just so our readers know), and it’s given me an opportunity to look back with a little perspective. Despite the fact I’m not very good at remembering dates of significance (I literally forgot my own birthday once), I’ll tie a string around my finger this year, because, like so many of your moms, mine deserves her special day of recognition, and here’s why:
My mom is the first to call and congratulate me on life’s little victories, and the first to console on life’s little defeats.
When I was a kid, she wasn’t the coddling “let’s put a Band-Aid on your boo-boo” type. She directed me to the medicine cabinet – “Suck it up, and put the Band-Aid on yourself.” A couple of years in school, I won the best attendance award. Mom wouldn’t let me be sick (It’s not like the commercials on TV).
Mom also introduced me and my sister to culture, opening our eyes to the value of seeing the way other people live, trying to instill in us an empathy we could not necessarily get in school. Travel is important to her – she spent much of her childhood traveling, and, even during the low-budget times (Top Ramen and powdered milk), she made sure we saw the world through a different lens like she did, even if we begged to stop at McDonald’s because we didn’t know better.
Mom is also an artist. She cultivated her interest in sculpture and ceramics, even selling some of her work at modest levels. I tried my hand at it a few times, but my sister was the one who inherited mom’s artistic vision Ð she may even make a career of it. I learned that being surrounded by appreciation for art is priceless (even if, as in my case, you aren’t that good at it). Sometimes the mundane of every day makes us forget what is important. She never let us forget.
Mom is also a braniac and a trivia nut. She’ll dominate any game of Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit. And she is a tireless reader. My sister and I were fed a steady diet of books as children and TV was limited (severely limited, to the three channels we picked up with the roof antenna). When we were kids, it was always “lights out, or read for an hour.” That’s an easy choice.
Mom is a great athlete, and she excelled in her younger years. You wouldn’t know it now because she despises exercise, but every once in awhile she’ll make a swan dive into the pool or throw a remarkable pass. Now, in her post-retirement retirement years, she is attempting to learn golf. By the end of day one she was shooting straight drives and her biggest obstacle has been finding clubs that fit. She’s 5-foot-9 and left handed.
She is known best among her friends for having a great sense of humor. Mom’s philosophy is to spend a good chunk of every day laughing. Laugh at yourself, laugh at others, laugh at anything. Looking back on our childhood, we spent a lot of time laughing. If laughter is the best medicine, we got our fill – maybe that’s why we were never sick.
Generosity is another virtue my mom has in abundance. She has always found a way to give time and money to charity, and has a place in her heart reserved for helping others. Even when we are distracted by our busy lives, attending to jobs, kids and the other details, there should always be time to help others.
So, even if I forget to send a card, or finally get around to calling at 10 p.m., happy Mother’s Day, mom. And thank you.
– Jim Scripps is managing editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He can be reached at jscripps@tahoedailytribune, or by calling 542-8047.