Friday, May 13, 2011

Belated Mother's Day

My mom about my age.

For Mother's Day I went to church with my parents. It's simple and free and my parents take way too much pride in showcasing their spawn at church, it's not just them, it's a Mormon thing. Church, for me is like a role in a play that you were in in high school that you still remember all the lines to - it's just like that. I wear a sleeved dress with a relatively modest neckline, that goes down to at least my knees with modest heels. And lipstick, red lipstick (because other colors are useless) that my mother has implied is "inappropriate." It sends the wrong message to young return missionaries.

I went for all three hours. It's very strange going now, the congregation is mostly young couples not much older than me that already have multiple babies. It freaks me out, not because I don't like babies, they're fine, but because that could have been me. I could be the young mom taking a toddler to the bathroom while prgnant with another. I could be a stay at home mom, already, at 21.

My mom stayed at home until my dad retired from the Marines and my family moved from North Carolina to Northern  Virginia. She got a job at the local hospital doing administrative stuff and started cleaning on the side, as the hours at the hospital became more restrictive, she quit and expanded her cleaning business. She taught us to clean, all of us know how to clean a bathtub and a kitchen sink, and that all you really need is warm sudsy water and elbow grease. As a result I have little patience for people who have ever paid anyone to clean up after them.

My mom is the hardest worker I know. She's scrapy. She grew up with nothing, in a podunk town in Eastern North Carolina. She put herself through community college where she got a degree in court reporting, did that for a bit, worked at a hospital for a bit, worked in social services for a bit, and eventually married my dad, had five kids and started her own company. . She moved around a lot, all my mom ever wanted was her own a house. Her house, that she could fashion in any way she wanted. And she does.

My mom is familiar with others' good will, and as a result she exhibits that gratuitous excess. There is not a person who's situation she is not familiar with or unwilling to help. She's opened our house to those who need a place to crash, provided clothes, a shower, food, whatever is needed to those who need a helping hand. And she taught all of us what it was to work and to be compassionate, and to be nice - though, I am not always very nice, I'm working on it. And when I'm being a bitch she won't say the word, she'll fidget and warble unintelligibly, because she is a lady and ladies don't use that kind of language.

She doesn't get me. And most of the time I don't get her either, and sometimes that makes communicating with one another difficult, but this is something we both recognize. She didn't go out much at my age, and she certainly didn't kiss strangers and she lived close to her entire extended family until she got married to my dad who scooped her up and took her to California. She doesn't understand my restless nature, but she listens.

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