I’m the oldest of four children. My folks were married six years before I came along. For all of my life I’ve been told I was prayed into existence because my mom couldn’t get pregnant. By the time my mom was my age, she’d been married seventeen years (this Thursday, to be exact) and had four kids… I was eleven and my sibs were eight, six, and four (because their birthdays are all in November).
My mom was perfectly suited to raising a houseful of kids. She’s the second oldest of seven. And she has six brothers. Is it any wonder that when broken arm #8 occurred, she calmly finished what she was doing before packing up and leaving work to go see how my brother was doing? (For the record, my brother Ethan has broken both of his arms twice; Brian has broken one arm twice, one arm once, and one plaster cast; and I am responsible for one broken arm.)
My mom was the official scorekeeper for the boys’ Little League teams every year. She was a Den Mother in Boy Scouts and a troop leader in Girl Scouts. She was the president of the booster club for choir and created and produced the football programs for something like eight years for our high school. She packed our lunches until we hit high school. She took us to school and picked us up every day. She took us to piano lessons every Wednesday for years. And I do mean YEARS.
She taught me to read a map. At one time or another, she relinquished the front seat to each of us to handle the navigation on road trips. She meticulously planned our road trips, finding the crazy, out-of-the-way locations that made our trips truly memorable. She’s the reason I see travel as a full contact sport.
She taught me to cook. I’m most probably getting ready to change careers and head to culinary school. I owe a good portion of this decision to her. She taught me to fear nothing in the kitchen. And it’s her roast beef, mashed potatoes, and gravy that I want for my birthday dinner every year. It’s her apple cake that I have made for years, wowing those who taste it for the first time. She made me breakfast until I hit high school (I took zero period which means class started at 6:50 a.m. … she may love me, but she wasn’t getting up that early!). She cooked dinner for the family every night and instituted Taco Tuesday when we were spread out… all the chicks came home to roost for tacos, enchiladas, and chilis and cheese every Tuesday night.
She hates to read, but loves movies based on literary classics. She can’t spell worth a darn and readily admits it when I proofread something for her or when Ethan reads through our family’s Christmas Memories Book (we’re on book three because my folks will celebrate their 43rd anniversary next week… each book encompasses 20 years of family Christmases). She cheers loudly for USC and the Dodgers–like mother, like daughter.
You may want to argue that you have a fantastic mom, but there’s no convincing me she’s better than mine.
This was the very first ball game I ever attended… Dad took this photo of Mom and me in July of 1981. We’re both wearing tops she sewed. She’s got a pen in her hand because she’s keeping score. The lighting was perfect and it’s my favorite picture of Mom and me. She’s explaining somethinerother about what’s happening on the baseball diamond. And here you see the start of a love affair… me and the Dodgers. (In fact, I’m wearing a Dodgers sweatshirt right now that I threw on at five o’clock this morning when I woke up cold.) She and Dad are somewhat to blame for my undying love for the guys who wear Dodger blue.