It boggles me sometimes. I just don’t know how she did it, managed it all alone without a pinch-hitter to reliever her, a sidekick to take over when she needed to slam a door behind her and bury her face in a pillow. Four snotty noses to wipe, four dirt-caked bodies to wash, eight pieces of bread to slather with peanut butter, 40 fingernails to clip, four hands to hold when crossing a street, fourteen or so loads of laundry per week, immeasurable needs to meet simultaneously, four mumbled and whiny voices careening in and out of her ears at once, four little hearts to hold in her hands.
But then again, she got to keep all of the smiles and kisses and “I love you, mamas” all to herself. And when the day was done, no one was beside her with raised eyebrows tsk-tsking if she spooned ice cream directly from the carton while watching late night TV.
My childhood was privileged and carefree, due in large part to my mother’s love. Rules were fluid, chores were mostly optional, playfulness and silliness were abundant, encouragement was limitless, creativity was welcome, and road trips were an oft-anticipated adventure. Somehow my mama knew how to inject lighthearted humor and goofiness into most any situation. To this day, is the one person I can let it all hang out with. She is the only person with whom I carry on a years-long conversation about “101+ uses for a tampon”. She is my favorite person to “spy” on strangers with; we’ve perfected eavesdropping in a restaurant or acting “busy” looking at clothes on a clearance rack while really peering over at a cute guy or an interestingly coiffed woman. My mama is the epitome of fun.
I inherited my off-beat sense of humor from her as well. When my younger brother was an ornery teenager, one of my mom’s classic and bodacious tricks occasionally used to shut him up was to flash her boobs at him. She’ll probably kill me for saying that, but c’mon, that’s hilarious. He’d roll his eyes and turn away in embarrassment (no one wants to see “mom boobs”, unless you are Stiffler). To her credit, it worked.
And besides fun and love – and that inability to “ask your Father…” – that’s what ya get when you are raised by a single mom.
I love you, Mama. For all the ways you inspire me, for the way your heart overflows for my girls, for the memory of never having to go to bed without the acknowledgment of your love, I thank you. I can’t wait to see you soon!
“Silly is you in a natural state, and serious is something you have to do until you can get silly again.” Mike Myers
P.S. #89: dipped in essential oils, it becomes a car air-freshener