Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Happy Birthday Mommy!

Today is my mother's 70th birthday. In the tradition (if two entries justifies a tradition) of birthdays, here are some things about my mother (selective memory applied liberally).
  • She's an excellent cook and her Christmas cookies are legendary. She would make them by the gross beginning in early November, then hide them away for Christmas. Our greatest challenge was the find the stash of cookies. Oh, and her cut-out cookies--so buttery, so thin; they melt on your tongue. Pies? Oh, man can that woman make a pie. And the dough from scratch, mind you. Sadly, I never learned the pie dough from scratch part. It's Pillsbury ready-made for me. Cakes? Oh, she made this coffee cake that was rolled up in a tube and then clipped with scissors. When it was baked, it would split open. (sigh). Yep, I owe my love of home cooking to this woman, for sure.
  • She can take a bumper crop of zucchini and make something different for dinner every night of the week. It's true. Think of that guy from Forrest Gump talking about shrimp and insert zucchini. That was Mom the year the zucchini would not stop growing. Zucchini bread, pie, baked, steamed, etc--and canned or frozen for winter eating too.
  • She has some mind control powers behind her dark brown eyes that made it impossible to lie to her. She always knew. Not to mention the "mom look" she would give us when we talked during mass. Scary.
  • She has the guilt trip down to an art form. Subtle, yet lasting, ever so lasting...
  • She taught me to crochet and knit and sew (Katie too), for which I am always grateful.
  • She also taught me how to read a recipe, for which I am also grateful.
  • Speaking of reading, she bought me three books for no reason one day when I was just learning to read. I remember the story lines to this day. God bless her for encouraging me to read.
  • She's nuts! No, really. Certifiable. It must be the Southern roots. Call it bipolar or just plain crazy--but I love her anyway. I'd get into the depths of her craziness, but I haven't got all day, you know. However, here is just a tiny little peek: She would clean the house while we kids were out playing. Whatever we didn't take up to our rooms got tossed into the front yard. The neighborhood kids would come yell to us, "Hey, your mom's cleaning again and your stuff is in the yard." Humiliating. Now I'm not a mom so I don't know how frustrating it is to clean up after someone (or five someones, in this case) but at what point does throwing it out the front door become a solution. Because, as humiliating as it was, it didn't work. We still left our stuff in the living room.
  • She was beautiful in her youth. Classic beauty--like Sophia Loren or Natalie Wood. I looked just like her as a child, but grew up to look more like her twin sister, Janet, and my grandmother (the other crazy Southern woman) Ruth. It's the eyes. Katie got Mom's eyes. I got Grandma Ruth's. Every once in a while, though, I'll look in the mirror and it's pure Joan looking back at me. There's still a trace of her former beauty visible today, but her hairdresser insists on dyeing her hair too dark for her skin tone. Po dunk hairdressers don't understand the intricacies of hair color.
  • She loves me to pieces because I'm the baby, and I'll always be her baby.

So, send out a good"Happy Birthday" vibe to my mommy. I know she'll feel it and maybe even appreciate it.


Uccellina said...

Happy birthday, Laurie's Mom!

Tina said...

Happy Birthday!!

MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

HAPPA BIRD DAY, LA's MOM!!! I'm so jealous. I want a crazy mom that I love to pieces.

Actually, I want wee MonkeyGurl to one day write a piece on me that is as sweet as yours. Prolly not gonna happen, tho. :)