I have known moms (as we all have), who walk with their heads held high, always speak in a firm but gentle manner and never leave the house without lipstick. You know the type. The seemingly perfect, cupcake-baking mom who attends every game and performance that her child partakes in, sends out holiday cards with pictures of the family and runs the household like an immaculate machine.
Not my mom. While other moms would never miss their weekly salon appointment for fear of death by bad hair, my mom would wear pajamas to a black tie event thinking that no one would know the difference. Fortunately those invitations were few and far between.
I always make a point, whenever I communicate with my daughter, to tell her that I love her. I have no doubt that my mom loves me dearly though I can’t recall her ever saying so. “Go scratch your ass,” I have heard innumerable times however. It’s just the way she rolls. More Brooklyn truck driver than June Cheever .
Mom grew up during the depression which has had long-lasting affects. She has never seen a piece of plastic that she didn’t like. Every Chinese take out container is revered, every bedding package treasured. Every so often my sister and I do a stealth removal of such items when she’s not paying attention but they seem to reappear like those magic birthday candles that you can’t blow out. I have conceded defeat. After all, if it makes her happy, who am I to deny her the pleasure of heavy weight zip lock bags.
Mom has never been shy about her love for food. On a trip to Italy many years ago, while everyone else on the tour was awed by the likes of Michaelangelo, mom was enchanted with the white clam sauce which she looked forward to everyday for those two weeks. I’m partly convinced that she has experienced life through her taste buds alone. Upon returning from a trip to Costa Rica I asked her how it was. “Well, the coffee was weak, the rice was sticky but the fish was pretty good” was her reply. I should have known better.
At the age of 30 I was having a pre-mature mid-life crises and decided to pick up and move to Jerusalem from Manhattan All mom could say was “well, you look Israeli. ” That was the entire conversation. Not exactly the response one would expect or hope for from a mother but how would she know any better. She grew up without one.
My grandmother succumbed to tuberculosis just months before a vaccine was available and my mom was still a child. The scars never heal. Almost 90 and mom still laments what her mother was like, what she sounded like, what her disposition was. My sister and I inherited those scars and wrestle with them every day. She was deprived the guidance and wisdom that a mother provides and to a much lesser extent, so were my sister and I.
My mom is really a good person. A solid, decent down-to-earth woman who worked hard most of her life, made sacrifices for her children and was a loving devoted wife to my father. She’s an incredibly good sport with no pretensions and very amusing when she’s not trying to be. I love her dearly. She talks to her succulents, shares food with the dog and has developed an addiction to Sun Chips. Her no non-sense approach to life, her humor, her quirkiness even the photos of Brad Pitt that she has on her walls are deeply endearing to me. So you can take your home baked cookies, your manicured nails and your bachelors degree mom. I’ll take my mom just as she is. I wouldn’t have it any other way!