I like to start this by letting new readers know that Friday Follies is a title that I patterned from Twitter’s Friday Follows.
It’s a left-handed sort of compliment. I liked the sound of Friday Follows, and the crowd it attracted. I thought it might be fun to collect my own crowd…people who had an odd sense of humor. Or, people who, like me, sometimes just liked to know about other people’s trivial trials, passionate pursuits, green greed, or other optional oddities that might glean a giggle or tweak a twinkle.
Since Mother’s Day is right around the corner, today’s Friday Follies seemed the perfect time to share a few things about my mom, stories about others’ moms, about being a mom, and other things sort of “mommish.”
Let’s start with the fact that as a child I wasn’t perfect. Even though every time my sister accused me of doing some Mom wouldn’t approve of I automatically said “Did not”… because I was building my perfect child image.
I was a curious child. “What’s this? What’s in there? Why can’t I have that? When are we leaving? Why don’t we eat dessert first?” Questions like these came naturally to me. I simply could not understand why my mother found them so challenging. Nor why her answers were so vague…and dictatorial…”It’s for me to know and you not to find out. Because I said so. When I say so. Because I said so.”
Being a curious child, however, I was not easily discouraged, and would continue to ask more questions, and get the same answers…until, in total frustration, I would finally give up and leave. And…come back later to start all over. What my mother taught me was patience.
Going to other people’s homes to visit, I was often told not to interrupt when adults are talking, to “sit like a lady”, to play quietly, and to say “please, thank you,” and “may I be excused?” before leaving the dinner table. More stuff that I found totally frustrating…but…she was bigger than me…and could remind me of that with a single glance. What my mother taught me was manners.
My mother taught music…still does…and made my sister and me suffer through years of painful piano lessons. We learned about all the classical composers, as well as many other musical genres, and yes…even though I thought it was painful at the time…I still play the piano now and enjoy it. We went to lots of music programs, learned to dance, and make fools of ourselves with glee. What my mother taught me was a love of music and motion.
I began earning my own money at a very early age. I will give credit to both my parents for this. They were always happy to give me advice…”I know someone who’s looking for help with something…and they’ll pay you.” The hints started early…about the time I started “wanting stuff.” I swear they never heard of child labor laws. What my mother taught me was responsibility.
There were several quotes today on what celebrities’ moms taught them…”Tuck in your shirt.” “Don’t play sports, you’ll get hurt.” “Suck it up and be tough.” “My mom was into yelling.” to quote a few. It was a reminder that even celebrities have moms…someone who influenced them… and gave them advice they may at times have ignored ( to their detriment of course). Somewhere through the thread of all that, though, I heard “My mom loved me enough to pay attention to me.” That’s a good thing.
Being a mom isn’t easy. I know. I am one. I’m not a perfect mom…just like I wasn’t the perfect child…despite my sputtering protests to the contrary. And my curiosity remains as active as ever…”Why did you do that? How come you didn’t pick that up before I tripped over it? Why isn’t that plate cleaned up yet? What’s wrong with you? What time did I tell you to be home?”
Sometimes, the best you can do…is to love your kids. My mom does. I do. Kids and moms just have this special kind of bond that asks really for only one thing…”in some way…tell me you love me”…and let me show you that I deserve it. And kids…if you’re wondering…all moms really want…or need…is to be loved back. A phone call on Mother’s Day, breakfast in bed (toast is good) …a vacation in Paris…ok, ok…I’m dreaming now.
“Thank you for all that you taught me and for Sunday…Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. You’re the BEST.”…to all the moms and all the dads who are moms…and all those in between who influence and provide parenting to those of us who need it…and always will.