When I began having children, I looked back at my childhood. I recalled situations that I thought my mom could have handled better. I resented the way my needs weren’t met; my interests weren’t developed.
I was going to write about how I took those things and turned them around, but I’ll save that for another post.
I realize it’s important to acknowledge what my mother did right. She is a strong woman in many ways. She’s silly and over-the-top and a bit zany. And those are the things that I think of when I recall how she positively affected my life.
She stopped and smelled the flowers, literally. She loved to garden and noticed buds and flowers wherever we were; sometimes she would snap off a piece and bring it home to take root. She noticed rainbows and cars and people. She has a kind heart, taking in strays all through the years. After taking care of my father until he died, she nursed another man she loved until his death.
She would dance and sing at the drop of a hat. We used to dance in our kitchen all the time. It was embarrassing when I was growing up if she burst into song in a restaurant. She was so different from other mothers who were so conservative. It is only recently that I realized that my friends thought she was a kick! She thought young and dressed young and taught me how to dress well.
She was and is very attractive. She taught me that I was beautiful too. She used to say, “If you got it, flaunt it!” She didn’t put limits on my skirt hem or my midriff showing. I was never an exhibitionist but she allowed me to be free of shaming because of what I was wearing.
She taught me it’s okay to laugh and be silly. It’s OK to be in touch with my inner child. I recall her jumping rope with me. I later jumped rope with my girls.
She had many interests and taught by example that it’s okay to pursue them. She loves to read. I spent the summer of my 2nd grade reading “The Bobbsey Twins” on my front porch.
In her late 70’s she is still silly. On my last visit, she started stripping in the living room while singing the stripper song! My daughter and I were howling with laughter!
She had a love of life that she passed on to me. And for that I will always be grateful.