My Mom is always doing a million things and never quite finishes her thoughts, planning her next day out loud as she walks around the house putting things here and there. In fact, when my brother-in-law first met my Mom she asked him a string of questions and before he could answer she proceeded to trail off on another topic as she left the room to put away something. He turned to my sister and asked, “Should we answer her?” My sister replied, “Nah, she’s just talking to her herself”. Albeit hard to have a direct conversation with my Mom she continues to put her stamp on this world, maintaining her quirky, expressive nature as a fun-loving drama coach, former hippie, and newfound potter. The picture above is one of my Mom, my two sisters and myself in 1987. By the way, I’m the one presenting the laundry like Vanna White. Not sure why? Perhaps, I just like to present things.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you my Mom.
Me: Mom, in honor of Mother’s Day this year can I ask you a smattering of mom related questions for my Mother’s Day blog post?
Mom: Sure, honey. But make it quick cause I’m about to go to bed. I’ve been running around doing my plays and I have to pick up Aunt Junie tomorrow and … [she trails off]
Question 1: Why did you decide to become a mom?
Mom: No one decides to become a mom. [She laughs] In your generation they plan it and in my generation they didn’t.
Question 2: What was the age that you thought to yourself, “Oh man I should have never had kids.”
Mom: Definitely 16. You guys scared the crap out of us [parents]. It was a very stressful time thinking about you girls growing up and having a lot of independence but still not adults yet. We had to think about insurance, the end of high school, how much money it will all cost for college. You girls were hanging out with friends we don’t like, lying to your parents….
Me: Wait, wait a minute here. I know you’re not talking about me, right?
Mom: No, no you were a good kid.
Me: You’re talking about Sister Number 2 right?
Mom: Um…yes. Of course, honey.
Question 3: What were your discipline techniques?
Mom: [she laughs] Next question. No, we didn’t really have any conscious discipline techniques, did I honey? [She turns to my Dad to confirm and I hear him in the background give an affirmative “No”] Oh, I was just an improver. (says my Mom the drama teacher) You were all basically good kids. I made life happy.
Question 4: How much do you think I cost you?
Mom: Oh you were cheap. Cheapest kid.
Question 5: Who was the most expensive kid?
Mom: Ah well, do we even have to ask.
Me: She’s living back at home, isn’t she?
Question 6: What is one of your fondest memories from when we were kids?
Mom: I have such good memories of you girls. I dressed you up for Halloween and we all went trick-or-treating and gave Dad all the candy to sort and eat. When I had that little preschool at the house and you had your little friends there. You were so adorable. You loved Strawberry Shortcake and Hello Kitty. So cute. We always had Shoney Birthday Coupons for a free meal so once a year we made sure that we took advantage of that one. We did a lot of free things: free VBS and all the free birthday restaurant sign- ups.
I will never forget when we were all dressed up coming back from Pasadena Players (our local melodrama play production) and I was a new driver. I saw the light flashing red. So I turned around to my 9 year old daughter (me) and asked, “Should I go or do I stay?” You said, “Go Mom!” And of course I went and got pulled over. A $75 ticket! I had to sell my sewing machine to a friend to pay for it. My brand new sewing machine.
Me: [I guess I know what I’ll be getting her for Mother’s Day, right] Mom, why did you wait so long to learn how to drive?
Mom: Well, in high school they said I had poor depth perception and I ran over the cones but I did well on the written test. My Dad had a Cadillac at the time and my Mom had a VW Bug and I took driving lessons at Santa Monica College. Afterwards, we’d go out to this cute little French creperie [trailed off topic to to tell me what my dad was watching on T.V. at the moment]. The course ended before I really learned. Also, people don’t like to loan out their cars especially to those who are learning how to drive. So I ended up getting my license when I was 36 years old. I’m what you call a “late bloomer”.
Me: Wait a minute. So you started learning how to drive when you were 16 and 20 years later got your license?
Mom: I’m just one of these people that adapt and adjust. I finally had three kids and got tired of shelping you girls on the bus.
Question 7: What do you think parents today face that’s different from what you faced raising kids in the 80’s and 90’s?
Mom: Well, I think one thing is the technology that kids are so addicted to these days. You gotta set limits but it’s very hard because it’s so addicting and kids are very demanding.
Me: I’m sure we were demanding as kids too. How did you quell that for us girls?
Mom: Well, we couldn’t afford it so we had to set boundaries. Each of you got one wish-list-type toy for the holidays and birthdays but we also got you little stuff. People didn’t have a lot in our neighborhood so we were all used to stretching that dollar very far.
Question 8: What do you wish you could have done differently as a parent when we were all young?
Mom: It would have been nice to have some friends for Dad and myself who also had small kids. And I would have liked to learn how to drive sooner.
Question 9: What was it like raising your kids with mixed religions? Did your Jewish family understand your Catholic husband?
Mom: Well, everybody kind of accepted it. I kind of did my own thing. My relatives were very accepting even if they didn’t always understand it. My Grandpa was very tolerant. I grew up having Christmas Trees in my family’s bridal retail stores so my we all kind of followed the Americana Calendar of Life. We sold a lot of merchandise during the Easter season too so we embraced it really. I did date a couple of Jewish guys but I also dated some Catholic guys and ended up with your father. It’s 35 years later and I still like him so I guess that says something.
Question 10: What are you working on now in pottery class?
Mom: I made a donut stand.
Mom: Well, I was supposed to be a pot but it fell. So now it’s a donut stand.
By the way, honey, I don’t want my real name out in the cyber space. So don’t use my real name.
Me: Okay, Mom. But I think people are going to find out one way or another. Ya know almost everything about a person’s identity is on the internet now and I’m including a picture of you.
Mom: I know, I know. But keep my name out of the cyber space.
Me: Okay, Mom. Love you.
Mom: I love you, honey.
My mom, who shall remain nameless, is an English, Speech, and Drama teacher by trade and runs her own community theater groups for young and old alike. She is the proud mom of three young women, all of whom are college-educated and productive members of society.
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