May 9, 2011

Dear Mom,

I had meant to do this post in time for Mother's Day but, like all things in my life, things got screwed up.  So here it is, a day late and a dollar short.  Typical.

Everything that I am that is even remotely cool is pretty much due to my mom. And, more than a few things that are not so cool as well.  So in honor of Mother's Day, I'm going to share a few of my favorite Mom stories.  They are in in no particular order. Just a collection of my favorites.

I've shared the story about my bra shopping experience in an earlier post.  But I have other underwear stories with my mom. Mom is quite the seamstress and when I was young, she made a lot of my clothes.  I was a lot smaller than most kids my age and my mom was talented.  I have fond memories of going to the fabric store with Mom to pick out patterns and fabrics.  I certainly had a unique, one-of-a-kind wardrobe growing up.

When I was in junior high (they call it middle school nowadays) my mom bought a yard of fabric to make me panties.  And a yard of fabric makes a whole lot of panties.  It was white fabric with teeny little red hearts all over it. So I had probably 30 pairs of white and red heart panties. 

Skinny, flat chested me hated the communal dressing rooms just as a rule but add in how awful junior high school girls can be and it gets worse. One particularly horrible classmate decided to make fun of me for my homemade panties. This [insert insulting and descriptive term here] decided to announce to the junior high school at large that I wore the same panties every day.  Why she felt this was newsworthy is beyond me but being a 7th grade girl and having your panties discussed is beyond embarrassing.

I never told my mom about how I was getting teased.  I knew she would immediately go out and purchase me a thousand pairs of panties in every different color.  I wasn't going to let that [insert insulting and descriptive term here] know that she'd gotten to me.

Years later, as an adult, I told my mom about the panty incident.  And she hit the roof.  She hates that [insert insulting and descriptive term here] -- and her mother too.  Capital H -- Hates. 

I love her for that.


When I was 19 I was busted at our local teen hang out, the Tiki Lounge, for drinking on a fake ID.  Of course, me being me, I wasn't busted like most people get busted.  My darling ex-boyfriend turned me in and the bouncers confiscated my fake ID and escorted me out. The bouncers were kind enough to not call the police 'til the next day.  So any contraband alcohol had more than enough time to leave my system.

Suffice it to say, I got my revenge on said ex-boyfriend

When the police contacted me regarding the "incident" my parents were kind enough to escort me to the local pokey to be interviewed.  Being a small Midwestern town, I will leave it to your imagination, dear Reader, to decide what our police department looks like.  But think... Mayberry PD.

Anyhoo, I'm dragged in to an interview room with my mom and dad in tow.  This particular police officer was well known to me what with all my meetings with him to discuss my excellent driving.  I'm sitting there in this tiny little room, one way glass, scarred table, bad florescent lighting... with my mother.  And Officer Friendly starts to read me my rights.  And I start laughing.  To which Officer Friendly inquires if I found the proceedings funny.  To which I responded, "Yeah... kinda."

It's at this high-stress moment my darling mother requests to see the fake ID in question.  Officer Friendly gets this gleam in his eye like, "Oh yes, Ms. Smarty-Pants... you're going to get it now!!" and hands the ID to my mother.  She glances at it, looks at me and says in the most disgusted tone, "Oh Andrea. This doesn't look a thing like you!"  Leave it to my mother to state, in the presence of Officer Friendly, that I didn't have a high enough quality fake ID. 

I love her for that.


Ever since I was a teenager, my mother has had open, frank discussions with me about sex and sexuality. Considering her strict Catholic upbringing this makes her a bit of an enigma, but when my friends would discuss how uptight and close-mouthed their mothers were about things of a sexual nature, it always made me appreciate my mom even more.

I can't remember when, exactly, my mom had the sex talk with me.  I do know that she also had it with several of my friends whose mother's weren't telling them about the birds and the bees.  She was up front about the hazards and the pleasures a sexual relationship can have, and clearly defined what constituted a healthy sex life.  She never made me feel embarrassed or weird about my body, its functions, or sex in general.  I haven't required years of therapy to undo any weird misconceptions my mom put in my head. 

I love her for that.

I also love that I have been dinner party entertainment for years when I tell the story about the time that she explained oral sex to me, in great and lurid detail. Or the time when she gave me her copy of The Joy of Sex and told me to read up on things -- that my boyfriends would appreciate the knowledge.

FYI Mom -- my boyfriends, past and present, love you for that.


When I was growing up, my mom made wonderful home-cooked meals every night.  On the rare occasion she tried a new recipe that was an utter and complete failure, we would have to have a family celebration to destroy the recipe.  We'd have to stand in the middle of the kitchen, join hands, and then dance around in a circle.  On Mom's cue we'd have to stop, she'd jump in the middle of the circle and rip the recipe card in half.  This would continue until the recipe card was completely destroyed.

This past Easter my mom decided to try a new deviled egg recipe.  And, let me tell you, those eggs were awful. Disgusting.  Inedible.  She called me a few days after Easter to let me know that she'd had her recipe destruction celebration all by herself.

I love her for that.


About four years ago Mom was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a serious lung disease that typically has a life expectancy of three to five years after diagnosis.  The disease has taken its toll on Mom and we've had a lot of ups and downs since her diagnosis.  This past fall, Mom was hospitalized for over six weeks and we almost lost her.

She'd gone in with pneumonia and, after a few weeks, that was starting to get better.  But because of the massive dosages of antibiotics and steroids, she developed a bleeding ulcer that they couldn't stop.

Due to her weakened lungs, surgery was not an option and her doctors told us she was going to bleed to death in a matter of hours.  We called my brother to make the drive down from Traverse City and we gathered around her bed to comfort her, and ourselves, and wait for her to die.

Except... no one told Mom.

I mean -- she knew what the doctors, nurses, and experts had said.  But she just didn't believe them.  So she wasn't afraid, or particularly concerned.  Which is why when the parish priest came in to administer last rites, she joked, "Uh oh, I'm a goner!"

She quipped, "Well, I guess I don't need to worry about getting new curtains!"

She complained about being hungry. She laughed. She joked. She bossed. She told me I needed to find some ethnic hair-care products to try and tame my naturally curly hair.  She told Peter he should grow his hair out and start shaving less saying it brought out his eyes.  She told my father he needed to get better shoes and nicer t-shirts.  She said a whole lot of things to my brother, which are private, and his story to tell.  She did a whole lot of things.  But she didn't die.

No one, not the nurses, the techs, the doctors, or the surgeons can believe she's still here.  But, she just didn't feel like dying that day and she doesn't feel like dying now. 

I love her for that.


There are far too many stories in my 41 years of life with my mother to get in to detail here. Suffice it to say, I love you Mom.  I always have. I always will. You were, and are, the best Mom anyone could ask for.

I love you for that.

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