Friday, August 26, 2011

My Mother

I guess I was one of those typical teenage girls. I didn't like my mother. Well, maybe that is not the correct way to say it. We just did not see eye to eye. I look back and wonder why. My mother did everything for me. As I was growing up, we were not wealthy. We probably were not even middle class, but I certainly did not know it. If I needed something, I always got it. If I wanted something, I almost always got it.
Then there was the love. There was lots of it. I think my parents told me every single day that they loved me. If they didn't, I think they did. If it was not in words, it was in something else they did or said.
When I look back, my parents were not particularly strict except in some things. They had some strange ideas: nice girls did not wear bangs. I have no idea where that idea came from, but my parents did not want me to have my hair in my face. (Now that I am an adult, I wear bangs - probably because I could not back then.) Another one of my mother's odd rules: nice girls did not wear colored underwear. I had nothing but white cotton underpants - the brief kind.
My mother's specialty, however, was making memories. We had Christmases that I think of almost every day. It was not the presents; it was the presentation. One year I got a package of gum for Christmas. I looked at it and said, "Thank you." Then I knew: another presentation. I looked closely, really closely, as she had opened that package of gum so carefully that it was not apparent at first sight. After opening the package, I still had to look very closely to notice that every single piece was opened. I pulled out a piece of that gum and, wow, there was money. There was money in every single wrapper! I opened another package and instead of a gift there was a note: get up from the chair (oh, yeah, I forgot - she always told everyone where to sit), walk five steps straight ahead, turn left, and so on. I finally got to the place and there was a microwave hidden away in the utility room. I always liked those wonderful presents, but I loved the presentation.
When my children were young, their dad and I divorced. They were with me that first Christmas, so it was still a good holiday. The next Christmas, however, they were to spend with their dad. I knew it was going to be awful. I dreaded that day for months. Finally, the day arrived. The girls opened their gifts, and their dad came to get them. (We were already at Mother and Daddy's.) After we had our Christmas lunch, Mother said, "Get up, we're going to the store." My mother worked at one of the local shoe stores. She had gotten permission from the owner of the store to take me even though they were closed. We spent several hours in that store in Christmas afternoon with my trying on every single pair of shoes in my size, and she bought me several pairs. I cannot even remember how many. My mother, in her own way, made a Christmas day I had been dreading for months the most memorable one of my life. It still was not perfect: I did not get to spend it with my girls, but it was special as I got to spend it with the lady who gave me life and a joy for life.
Now, I am much older. My daddy passed away last year, and my mother is not the same as she was before. Her memory is fading, and it makes me so very sad. The person who gave me the best memories I have is losing hers.