Sunday, January 08, 2012

My Mom's Birthday

Mom. On her 65th birthday. Oops, sorry, I mean 29th.
My mom's birthday was January 8. She's traveling through South America so we communicated via e-mail and Facebook.  But I thought about everything I did that day and how so much is a reflection of her.

I woke up happy. I generally do. We have a lot of happy women in our family. Being positive was very important to my mom. And her mom.  As a teenager upon awaking I wasn't quite as ready to greet the day with a song and a smile as my mom was. She'd come into my room after I'd hit snooze 10 times singing...what would she sing? I can't remember... probably something from a musical. Proabably, "The Hills are Aliiiiiive, With the Sound of Muuuusiiiiic!"  Let's be honest, I didn't appreciate being awakened by my mom singing back then.  But I did appreciate her joy and optimism she passed down.  And now, I am so much better at waking up. When the alarm goes off, I get up. Happy.  Because it's what moms should do.  (Fine, my kids can attest that there are some days that I am grouchy. But I generally wake up happy.)

It was Sunday and I spent church in the Nursery playing with the children. I come from a legacy of women who have an innate ability to interact with children and make them happy. I don't think I was blessed with as much patience and spontinaity (Oh yes, I have some. But my mom, Marge and Grandma have so much patience it's unreal. And combined with my mom's ability to go with the flow, it's superhuman.)

But I love working in Nursery. I begged to be there. I love knowing that I'm good at how to capture their attention during the lesson (Look at this picture of a mother and baby! Everyone put their finger on the baby! Put your finger on the mother! Who has a mother? Your mother loves you!). And I understand their attention span is short and that I'm unaffected by their need to go slide down the slide and then come back to the table.

All this? It's what my mother taught me by example.
My favorite photo of me and my mom. 1971.
I want them to have a healthy snack.  Apple slices, pretzels and sometimes string cheese.  "Isn't this apple delicious?! It's crunchy.  Mmm.  And so sweet and juicy! I love apples! They're so healthy and good for our bodies!"

And then we took an imaginary walk around the room looking for pretend people to help.  The kids and I held hands and we walked to each corner. "Look, there's a little girl who's sad because she's hurt. Let's give her a big hug and kiss it better.  Oh, over there I see a boy who needs a toy.  Do you see him? Let's go give him this pretend toy we're holding!"   

Oh yeah; it's like my mom wrote the words in my brain and I just read them off exactly as she would.  I even feel like my mom when I'm talking like her. I find myself so often thinking, "I sound just like my mom."

I like to sing the songs during Sacrament Meeting. So did my mom.  She wasn't afraid to sing loud with a full voice. She has a beautiful voice and while mine doesn't quite stay in tune all the time, I'm pretty good on the hymns. I think our family just likes to sing.

After church I fed my kids a healthy lunch -- 100% whole wheat bread with All-Natural peanut butter.  Now that they make jam sweetened with fruit juice instead of sugar, I opt for that. But growing up we always had honey.  (And I think I'm allergic to peanuts. Anyone else notice they make your mouth swell?)

I had to wear my glasses all week because I had an appointment to see if I'm a candidate for Lasik (PRK in one year if I don't have a cornea disease which I probably don't but they have to wait a year to measure again, just in case.)  I even had to exercise in them. And when I pulled my hair back into a ponytail and wore my glasses, I LOOKED JUST LIKE MY MOM!  It was a little bit freaky. And the best part was the next day: I wore my sunglasses over my glasses while driving to meet Dan for lunch. TOTALLY MY MOM!

Back to January 8.  I quizzed Marty on the spelling bee words.  My mom spent hours upon hours for days quizzing me in 7th grade for the Jr. High spelling bee.  I REALLY wanted to win!  And she helped me learn those words inside and out.  And then she came to the bee and I still have the list of words she held while she watched and she marked each word that was used and which words I got etc. Maybe it helped calm her nerves because I know she was rooting for me. And I won! And being a winner was such an amazing feeling!

Later I was interviewed at the District Bee and the newspaperman asked me who I owed my spelling ability to. Well, I'm literal. So I heard, "From which genes did you get the ability to spell well?" And I said, "My Dad" (because my mom has always said she was never a great speller and I'm more natural at it, so my inherent ability to spell probably came from my dad).  But I wish he would have asked me who helped me win because then I would have understood more clearly and answered, "My mom, who spent hours quizzing me."

Later that day I helped Nicholas and Christopher practice for their piano recital.  I paid Nicholas a quarter for each time he played his song. "Do you think you can do it 4 times? What about 6?!"  My mom was never above giving us incentives to make something happen.  She told me once about practicing the piano, "When you first create a habit there are 3 stages.  First, you do it because you're getting a reward.  Later you do it because you're supposed to.  But finally you do it because you want to."

That night I read aloud to Nicholas before bed--I couldn't wait to put him to bed so I could find out what happened next in Tomie dePaola's autobiography.  And then I read "A Wind in the Door," by Madeliene L'Engle to Christopher.  My mom always read out loud to us. And she wasn't afraid to cry in the sad parts, like in Bridge Over Terabethia.  And she said she often looked forward to bedtime so she could lay back and read with us.

 My mom and a new friend she met in the hostel.  
She's always meeting new friends.
The "Torre" hike. Torre del Paine, Chile.

Thanks, Mom, for everything you taught me and did for me and passed down to me. Love you!

4 comments:

Katy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katy said...

She sounds so fun - just like her daughter!

Michelle said...

LOVE this post! So nice to see you've rejoined the blogging world. I've missed you here! BTW, the morning song I remember (over the intercom if you'd forgotten to turn down the volume in your room) was, "It's seven o'clock in the morning, time to get up!" --I seem to remember the song coming from a rooster singing on a Sesame Street sketch? Sound familiar at all?

Michelle said...

LOVE this post! So nice to see you've rejoined the blogging world. I've missed you here! BTW, the morning song I remember (over the intercom if you'd forgotten to turn down the volume in your room) was, "It's seven o'clock in the morning, time to get up!" --I seem to remember the song coming from a rooster singing on a Sesame Street sketch? Sound familiar at all?