Friday, August 10, 2012

A Student Of Life

Today my mother turns 70 years old. That's quite a lot of living. One of her sisters sent her the most beautiful gift - a memory book with photos and 70 memories she had of her oldest sister. It inspired me to do something similar, so I've made a list of 70 things about my mother that makes her who she is and gives you a good idea why she's so loved by me.

1. She taught me how to macramé.

2. She once dropped a pan of birthday cake batter (for a cake she was making for my party) on the floor in our kitchen, scooped it all up, put it back in the pan and baked it.

3. She taught me how to crochet, and hung with pride, the hideous Christmas tree ornaments I made that year.

4. She put little love notes in my lunch box every day when I was a kid.

5. She always smells good. Shalimar was her signature scent when I was a kid and the one that most reminds me of her.

6. She's always been extremely beautiful and turned heads wherever she went.

7. She made my brother and I breakfast every morning before school, even when we were in high school.

8. She let me wear her crystal wedding crown for my first holy communion.

9. She always made me a “Vick’s Necklace” when I was sick – which was where she’d slather my neck and chest with Vick’s Vapo-Rub and then wrap a small hand towel around my neck to keep the "vapors" in, securing it with a baby diaper pin.

10. Her natural hair color is black and shiny, like an Indian, but she's been blonde, brunette, redhead, frosted, and now silver and she's rocked every single shade.

11. She's so so so funny and doesn’t even try.

12. She is always calm no matter what the situation may be. I remember the day I came walking across the snow on our front lawn, a trail of blood behind me because my brother just kicked me (accidentally) in the lip with the zigzag tip of his ice skate, and she didn’t freak out. She never freaks out.

13. She accompanied me to many doctor visits, even as an adult, and wrote down everything the doctor said, asking questions I didn’t think to ask; always taking care of me like I was her baby. (Which of course, I am.)

14. She welcomes all of my friends to her home and is always a fantastic host.

15. She wasn't a mother with a lot of ridiculous rules. We were allowed to get our socks dirty, we could sit on furniture in a wet bathing suit (ok, not the "good" furniture), we were allowed to be kids and play like kids, we did arts and crafts, she let us paint and use Play-Doh, we could help cook in the kitchen, work in the garden, decorate our own rooms and were not restricted from any area of our home.

16. She taught me how to watercolor, although I’ll never be as good as she is.

17. She has supported everything I’ve ever done and has always showered me with praise.

18. She thinks I’m a super-star.

19. She has helped me settle in to every place I’ve ever lived; arranging cabinets, making curtains, buying furniture, etc.

20. She made an entire wardrobe for my Barbie dolls and my life-sized baby doll – by hand.

21. She always made sure I had great hairstyle when I was little. Although, while making pigtails and ponytails, she would pull my hair so tight my eyes would squint.

22. She’s not a bullshitter and can spot one a mile away.

23. She’s a little OCD, but it works for her.

24. She always said I could tell her anything, and I did.

25. She’s an excellent dancer.

26. She’s a low-tech wizard. Although, she’s getting along quite nicely with her iPhone.

27. She watches a lot of Criminal Minds and as a result, thinks everyone is an unsub.

28. She is wary of
candy from strangers.

29. My friends love her.

30. Since I was a little girl, she has always allowed me to have an opinion and say what I want. Even if she doesn't like it.

31. She didn’t just do things for us, she taught us how to do for ourselves, which made my brother and I who we are today.

32. For most of our childhood, I think she believed mercurochrome took care of everything.

33. Although a good cook in her own right, she rocks the nickname ”High Flame Toni” for a very good reason.

34. She is a fantastic grandmother and her three grandchildren love being in her company. It seems her house is the best place on earth.

35. She taught me how to climb out of my crib when I was a toddler so I wouldn’t get hurt attempting it on my own.

36. She used to scotch-tape a bow to my head when I was an infant because I didn’t have any hair.

37. She loves to laugh and does it often and easily.

38. And, she loves to laugh at herself. Many people don’t do that, but it comes quite naturally to her.

39. She has covered more things with contact paper than one would think is humanly possible.

40. She also has a penchant for painting things white. Be afraid if you see a paintbrush in her hand.

41. She has amazing skin is just as beautiful without a stitch of makeup and unadorned, as she is tanned and dripping with gold.
42. When my father used to work at the post office, he would bring home old balls of twine they used to wrap packages. My mother crocheted a rug and curtains for our family room out of it. Don’t ask.

43. She has the vocabulary of a sailor and isn’t afraid to use it.

44. When she was younger and wore a bikini to the beach, if people asked about the scar on her abdomen (from having her appendix taken out), she would tell them she got it from being stabbed.

45. She is the oldest of four girls and acts like it. She's kind of bossy.

46. She’s also a typical older child, very responsible and taking care of everyone.

47. She would give anything, do anything and say anything to help her children.

48. In that same vein, she’d happily go to jail for murder if someone hurt her children.

49. She is known for not having a really great sense of direction – she once got lost in a parking lot.

50. She's very often
politically incorrect, without even comprehending what just came out of her mouth.

51. She has always had a fabulous green thumb. She can make anything grow and bring the dead (plants, that is) back to life.

52. She doesn’t know how to swim, but that never stopped her from being in the pool with us as kids, or with her grandchildren to this day. Of course, we didn’t (and they don’t) know that she’s afraid of the water.

53. She’s a cat lady from way back in the day.

54. She always said she’d never punish us for telling the truth, and she never did.

55. She always told me I was beautiful, and my brother that he was handsome.

56. She loves my Eddie almost as much as I do.

57. She really doesn’t give a fuck what you think about her.

58. She’s an excellent student and graduated college summa cum laude.

59. She is a great listener and a great giver of advice.

60. She’s easily confused. But in
the funny way.

61. She’s extremely generous.

62. You will always feel welcome in her home. She is a gracious host and fully expects you to embrace the phrase “make yourself at home”.

63. When my brother shoved watermelon pits up his nose when he was little, she reacted swiftly by sucking them out!

64. Because we were never sick as children, she would allow us something she called a "goof day" - where she'd let us have the day off from school for no reason at all.

65. She woke my brother and I for school every day with a sing-song "Riiiisssse and Shiiiinnnne!".

66. She didn't coddle us and she didn't let us get away with shit, and to this day, still doesn't.

67. She knows how to make a person feel comfortable in every situation. I believe that skill was passed to my brother and I and as a result, we know how to make people from all walks of life comfortable in our presence.

68. She is extremely loyal and reliable.

69. She looks cute in a muu-muu.

70. She is truly the best mother a child could ask for. I don't know too many people who've had the good fortune to have a mother who so completely and so passionately loves her children the way my mother does. Hell, who loves people the way my mother does. She has touched so many lives and made them better by just being in it. She is greatly admired, abundantly loved, sorely missed, immensely appreciated, and means more to those who know her than she can ever fathom.

I'd say I wish her another 70 years, but that'd kinda be ridiculous because really, who lives to be 140 years old? So I'll just say that I wish her the most joyous, relaxed, love filled days a person can have, for the rest of her time here on this earth. And I hope she gets back even half of what she has given.

I love you Mommy. You are my rock. And I know that as long as I live, I'll never know a love more pure and unconditional than yours.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
There Is No One Alive Who Is Youer Than You
2010: The Serious Bather
2009: There’s More To The Woman With The Mona Lisa Smile Than Meets The Eye
2008: Blond Bombshell Birthday
2007: Milestones And Yardsticks: How To Measure A Good Life
2006: The Roaring Twenties
2005: Escape


Belledog said...

This is the nicest birthday present anyone could ever give. What an interesting woman, with a life well lived.

And it's not like you're going to top the Camry.

Happy birthday and many more to Salena's mom. Life begins at 70!

Pat said...

What a beautiful post. Isn't it great to have such a wonderful mom?

Gil said...

Wow! This is one great tribute to one great Mom from one great daughter. Nothing smells better on the right woman than Shalimar. Well, it even smell great on any woman.

Gil said...


ELH said...

Salena, a very happy birthday to your mom, both my parents are still goin strong at 78!!, and its so nice you have a wonderful relationship with her..
It's always nice to reflect on how our folks have influenced us and help to shape us into the people we are today...