- Sew. Oh sure I can sew on a button, and last year I had sew up a hole in a pillow, but if I need something hemmed or the hole to look like it wasn’t even there, I go straight to my mom. I know I learned how to using a sewing machine in middle school home economics years ago. I even remember the sweet watermelon patterned shorts I made, but it did not stick. And truthfully it is not something I am interested in. My mom sewed amazing costumes. Once she sewed a yellow submarine costume for my figure skating show. I was so embarrassed to wear it, but her ability to make such a costume was impressive.
- Cook. No matter how hard I try, nothing tastes as good as my mom’s cooking. Even simple noodle salad. It just isn’t the same. I don’t really like to cook either. This makes me feel like I am letting my family down because my ENTIRE family is filled with amazing cooks. I try, and there are a few things I do decently, but in the daily grind of life, I stick with the bland basics. I figure this way it is a treat to know we will get some delicious food when we visit Grandma.
- Be crafty. During the Polar Vortex I made playdough. I was very impressed with myself. I am not a crafty person, and for as many times as I have tried, I just can’t get into it. My mom, however, always has some sort of crafty project to do with the grandkids, and they love it. Her house is decorated for each holiday, she makes cookies and puts googly eyes on them, and she is always in the middle of some sort of home project. “I’m just going to take this table and…” None of this craftiness rubbed off on me. The only holiday I really decorate for is Christmas. I do hang a decorative wreath or sign on my front door each season, but that is about as crafty as I get.
3 things I learned from my mom
- How to love. Unconditionally. Even when you might have thrown a party while your parents were out of town leaving cigarette burns as a forever reminder. Still loved. We spent evenings together. Whether it was snuggling in Mom’s bed watching Rescue 911 or Unsolved Mysteries or laughing around the dinner table. We said goodnight and kissed each other goodbye. Love was felt and known and never questioned. I grew up believing this is just how families are, but being a teacher now for almost two decades, I know this is not the case. And it makes me immensely grateful for what I had and still have.
- How to support and encourage. I remember once watching Home Improvement with my mom. It was a later episode when the youngest son had turned Goth, I believe. I made some snarky comment like, “How can his mom be OK with this?” My mom simply said, “Sometimes you just have to let your kids go through their phases. You know, like when they dye their hair black or something.” Just a year or two earlier it was me going through said phase, and my mom had been right alongside me helping me rinse the black dye from my hair in our basement wash tub. She didn’t question it. She didn’t even pass judgment. She just let me live through it and helped me rinse until the water turned clear again.
- How to laugh often and be goofy. From random dance moves to singing songs loudly and off-key, I grew up in a home where silliness was encouraged and laughter was plentiful. To this day we have little inside family jokes and strange sayings that an outsider, or even a spouse, doesn’t fully understand or think is very funny. There has never been a time when we have been together that we haven’t laughed, full belly, can’t-catch-your-breath, laugh. It doesn’t get much better than that.