Mom on the Mind
This weekend, especially, my thoughts are on my mother.
1. She was named after her grandmother. She wasn't crazy about the name, and she told us never to name a child after her. She preferred to be called Ida Mae by friends, but I'm not sure if most of her friends knew that.
2. She loved to read to distraction. I could walk in the house and could tell that she was finishing up a book because she'd put the housework on hold for a bit. To save time, she would get Reader's Digest Condensed Books, and would have me read the stories after she was done to discuss. So as a child, I ended up reading age inappropriate fare such as Wheels and The Other Side of Midnight, but the Victoria Holt novels were our favorites. We talk for hours about The Shadow of the Lynx and On The Night of the Seventh Moon among others. It was my time with Mom--our own little book club in our busy household.
3. She had a diverse taste in music. She loved country--Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and George Jones, and Hank Williams, Sr. We also listened to Dean Martin, Marvin Gaye, Temptations, Supremes, and Tom Jones. She even get Mitch Miller songs for us kids to sing along.
4. She hated to drive.
5. She was very much into history and loved Civil War history in particular. The story of Theodosia Burr enchanted her. Really surprised I wasn't named Theodosia.
6. She raised six children on her own after my father left while she was pregnant with twins. She was only 24 years old at the time.
7. She accepted the supernatural into her life and believed in ghosts and claims to have seen them. On the other hand, she was agnostic about religion and pretty much let us trod our own religious path.
8. She made the best fried chicken and baked macaroni and cheese, and try as I might, I cannot
9. She had a forgiving nature. I don't remember telling us to hate our father or even saying bad things about him.
10. She loved my knitting and crocheting. When I first learned, I made her a hat and scarf combo out of halloween ombre yarn and I didn't know how to add stitches in crochet to make a flat beret, so the hat had a ugly peak. She wore it anyway.
My hot headed, combative, grudge holding, skeptical nature often clashed with my mother's gentler, more accepting way of looking at the world. As time passed, we learned to accept each other as we were, and I recall those adjustments in our final conversation.
I refused to celebrate the first few Mothers' Days after she passed. In my church, we would wear a red rose for living mothers and a white rose for deceased moms on that day, and I couldn't bring myself to wear a white rose.
I still haven't, but I think I can now.
Happy Mothers' Day weekend.