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On Mothers and Mothering

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I just finished reading Tuesdays With Morrie this morning. Like, right this morning. Have you read it? If you haven’t, please get yourself to a bookstore rightthissecond and buy yourself a copy and do not put it down until you’re done. You can thank me later. After (and throughout) reading it, tears were brought to my eyes. Alright, tears may be an understatement – I flat out cried. Released feelings, and all that. Some of it was about mourning the loss of people in my life, some was the sheer fact that this book spoke to me in such a powerful way. I am by no means a religious person, but the ideas presented in this book definitely form what I believe to be the most powerful, nearest-I-will-get to religious concepts. Like I said, go read it.

What does all this have to do with mothers? Well, firstly, I am writing this on Mother’s Day. Secondly, one of the main ideas of this book is sharing with others your feelings about them, before it’s too late. I mean, nobody gets to hear the great stuff spoken at their funeral, right? May as well say awesome things while they’re alive. Therefore, this one’s for you, Mom.

My mother and I don’t have a picture-perfect relationship. We squabble, probably more often than we should, in part due to our drastic differences, and in part due to our striking similarities. Sometimes, my mother absolutely sets my hair on end; often, I know that I’m doing the same for her. We can say just the right thing to set the other one off on an angry tangent. It’s a particularly nasty talent one acquires from knowing a person too. Damn. Well.

That being said, although we don’t always see eye to eye, I appreciate my mother a whole damn lot. For one thing, she quit her job when my brother and I were young, in order to spend as much time with us as possible.  I was able to have her as my first teacher. She would take us to the library, the park, host crafting parties – much to the delight of my school friends – and encourage my artistic and creative abilities. Mom, although a tad dramatic at times, proved time and again to be a strong woman, capable of reigning in my incredibly overactive brother while showing us patience. She would organize family road trips with the utmost care and attention to detail, including the time we drove down to Prince Edward Island, camping along the way. Mom spent a few weeks prior to this stocking up on mini ketchup packets, mustards, and relishes, which she kept in a large Ziploc bag. This, like so many of Mom’s ventures, was to save money.

Indeed, one of the things I both admire and clash with my mother on is her ability to budget, save, scrimp, balance the books, and keep a keen eye on coupons for deals. This fastidious nature, if not entirely passed on to me, has definitely rubbed off in a positive way. How many of my friends realized by high school how important budgets were, and what it meant to live within one’s means? Mom, as always, was inadvertently teaching me valuable life lessons.

Mom was my first brush with creating loving meals. Although there was a long stretch of time when many doubted my culinary abilities (mostly due to my total disregard for food – I ate what I needed to, and didn’t care much about the taste, a stark contrast to current times), I now have a love and appreciation for food preparation, especially for baking. Mom used to spend hours in the kitchen with my brother and I, painstakingly teaching us math, little snippets of chemistry, and how to read instructions and follow them to get a good result. Like the recipes I use? You can thank my mom for the original spark of inspiration.

Lastly, fashion. Mom went to school for fashion design for one year before realizing that perhaps, it was a more competitive field than anticipated. However, I got to flourish from her natural talent and added education – HALLOWEEN COSTUMES, man. I cannot tell you how many cool costumes my brother and I had growing up (and maybe still get made for us….[me]), due to Mom. Freaking sweet is what that is.

Long-winded as it is, thank you, Mom, for being awesome. I love you.

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