So yesterday was Mother's Day. And it's natural that I would have been thinking about my own Mother a lot. She's been gone for about 8 years and I still miss her. Just some days it's a bigger hole than other days y'know?
She was a complicated woman, my mother. But then who isn't? Complicated I mean. I wish you could have known her. She was worth knowing. Let's see, what can I tell you about her?
I actually do not have a lot of pictures of her. She was all kinds of shy. Camera shy being one of the kinds. If a camera came out, 9 times out of 10 she would either step behind someone (or something) or turn her back, or step out of the camera frame. There are a few photos out there where she is trying very hard to be a "good sport" and allow the photo to be taken but her jaw is set so hard she is grimacing more than smiling and her entire body is so stiff that she looks as if she would snap in two if you touched her. Not good photos. In a few other pictures she is making silly faces. So actual good photos of her are rare. But I am so happy that there are a few of them around. When she relaxed and smiled, she was beautiful.
She was very tiny. I'm not sure she ever hit 5 feet. By the end of her life she was only 4'8". Even though I'm not very tall, I always felt as if I towered over her. She very small boned as well. Teeny tiny little bird bones. And she was deceptively strong. If she grabbed hold of you, you weren't going anywhere and it was going to leave a mark.
She was a fine musician, both piano and voice. When she sang, she rattled the china in the cabinets. When she played any piano, she wore it out. There are 88 keys on a piano and she was determined to use them all equally. It was awesome.
She loved flowers and always had a garden that was so beautiful, the trees were jealous. So were the neighbors. I am not certain that she actually gardened differently than anyone else, she just loved the flowers and they loved her right back. She had endless patience for her gardens.
On the flip side, she had no patience at all for such foolishness as cooking. She was absolutely uninterested in food. As such, she didn't cook very often and when she did cook she could never be bothered reading the instructions. The advent of frozen meals was a godsend to her. She thought that was the greatest invention since..well...sliced bread! Meals were not very good at our house.
She loved animals dearly. We always had a houseful, usually rescues of one sort of another. It was an ever changing cast of characters: dogs, cats, birds, turtles, fish...it didn't matter what the creature was, she loved it and welcomed it into our home. There was never a question of them getting along. She expected that they would, and so they did.
She adored her grandchildren. In her eyes they could do no wrong. Even when they were clearly in the wrong. Maybe especially if they were wrong. She would defend them to the end. One year on Thanksgiving, after dinner when the adults were cleaning up from the meal and talking and doing other "boring" grown up things, my mother took all 5 of the grandkids down stairs and gave them a box of art supplies, pointed at the white painted walls of the basement and told them to let their imaginations soar. By the time my sister and I found out about it, the basement walls were both sparkly and colourful. The kids believed that she hung the sun, the moon and the stars. And maybe she did.
She read tea-leaves and movie magazines. Most of the magazine subscriptions came from some neighbor kids who was selling them door to door raising money for one thing or another. She never turned a child away. But she turned plenty of adults away.
She didn't play bridge or canasta and flatly refused to join the PTA or the Women's League. She didn't care to bowl or learn to play golf or tennis and she absolutely was never going to be part of the Country Club set. But she would play CandyLand with my sister and I for hours on end and allowed us to climb the big tree in the backyard of our house on Denton Dr even though the lady next door was screaming that we were going to fall out and break our necks.
She treasured and saved every letter or piece of artwork that the kids ever gave her. She didn't own a single dress and other than the occasional polish on her toes, never in her life wore a bit of make-up. But she loved anything that sparkled and had oodles of jewelry. And her favourite reason for anything she ever did was, "just because". Sometimes Just Because is my favourite reason now too.
She was one of the funniest people I've ever known and she was never trying to be funny. She just had a unique way of looking at things that cracked me up. She always said exactly what she was thinking with no filter at all. And sometimes that was pretty darned funny too. She definitely wasn't like anyone else's mom that I knew but she didn't care that she was different. In fact, I think she secretly liked it.
It's Mother's Day and I miss my Mother. But I am so glad I have so very many wonderful memories.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.