Today at church, the young women took over the callings of all the women in Primary and Young Women during the third hour. Monica taught five-year-olds and Alana directed the music in Primary. When I walked into the Primary room to get something out of my bag, Alana said, “Mom!”
I wasn’t sure if she was calling me or simply using it as an exclamation. Apparently “mom” has become the word among her friends, meaning “wow” or “seriously” or “dude” or “what?” or “whatever.” In the nicest most possible way, of course. I’m sure it’s never, ever, ever used a a pejorative. Ever.
Anyway, I thought about how my mom never had to deal with having her name said in vain. At least not like that. Or maybe she did. But not exactly like that. Anyway. It got me thinking about what I remember most about my mom. I only have a few minutes, because I’m determined to spend the afternoon napping and having my feet rubbed with scented oil. Hint, hint. But here are the things that pop into my head:
Her laugh. It was unusual enough to stand out, but not obnoxious. Slightly contagious.
Ironing. My mom ironed everything. Everything. But secretly I think it was her excuse for watching the Big Money Movie on KSL everyday.
Order. Our house was always neat, tidy, organized, and clean. Every cupboard and drawer as well as the visible surfaces. I grew up thinking that was normal and it didn’t occur to me until I moved out that it actually required significant effort.
Knitting. My mom became an amazing knitter (knittress?) when I was in high school. We all have some gorgeous remembrances of her skill.
Sewing. Mom was an excellent seamstress. She made lots of our clothes. When I was in A Cappella Choir in high school (and college) she made my dresses. And they always looked better than even those who hired seamstresses.
Christmas stockings. Mom designed these gorgeous needlepoint stockings and started a tradition for the grandkids. This was both good and bad. Good because they are just lovely and amazing. Bad because her hands got too disfigured to do needlework after making only two leaving me with either half a tradition or four stockings to make on my own. (I finally figured it out and made them just before Christmas 2007. Under duress. With help from my dear friend, )
Pie. My mom was a great cook all around, but her pie crust was amazing. It was flakier than the Crisco commercial pie crust. I kid you not.
Breakfast. Mom made us breakfast every single day of my home life. Hot breakfast, not putting the bowl and the box of cereal on the table. As in bacon, eggs, toast, juice, milk. She was the important part of your complete breakfast.
Piano. My mom was a great pianist. She taught lessons for years. She performed amazing concertos for two pianos with my sister I remember watching the music fly off the two grand pianos in our living room. She was the best accompanist on the planet. I didn’t appreciate that until the arthritis and illness forced me to use someone else. If you’re not a singer or other performer in need of an accompanist, trust me on this. You can be a great pianist and a lousy accompanist. She was great at both. I could sing anything and go anywhere with the song and she was right there with me. No matter what.
Scriptures. When my mom died, Marnae one of the girls I grew up with said, “Your mom read the scriptures even before we were supposed to.” I’m unsure what time she was referring to, but it was interesting that even a friend knew about her scripture reading habits. She was a true scriptorian.
Thanksgiving dinner. Like I said, she was a great cook. I still pretty much duplicate her Thanksgiving menu (although I use premade pie crust, frozen roll dough, and my gravy leaves a lot to be desired). And I remember when Thanksgiving was fun rather than stressful because she was cooking.
Being sick. My mom trained as a nurse before the war. Maybe it’s because of that that I almost liked being sick. Enough that I faked sick dozens of times. When we were sick, mom got us up and sent us to the tub to bathe. While we were there she changed our sheets and no one could make a bed like my mom, with sheets you could bounce a quarter off and hospital corners that never came undone and got out clean pajamas. Then she’d bring in a little, black-and-white portable TV, and make orangeade (which we now call “Grandma Juice”). She’d bring meals on a tray, prop up our pillows, and cover us with dishcloths to keep the bed, and us, clean. Then she’s turn the intercom to “listen” mode, so all we had to do was moan or sigh heavily and she’d come running to see what we needed.
You cannot pay for that kind of coddling.
Grandma. Mom loved my kids. She adored them. She was the only person who would get sincerely excited about all the mundane stuff kids do that moms think is amazing. When my kids learned to read, in Florida, she sent them tee-shirts to commemorate it. She mailed candy or treat money on Halloween. When Jessica didn’t understand the school lessons about seasons in kindergarten Boca only has “hot” and “hotter” or “hurricane season” and “not” depending on whether you’re measuring heat or precipitation my folks sent her a box of autumn leaves.
Wow. I hate that my mom isn’t here to see them grow up.
My favorite letter. When I was in junior high or high school and we weren’t getting along so well, my mom wrote me a letter. I still have it in a box at their house. One line has always stuck with me. She said, “I hope I never listen, but don’t hear your sweet song filling the air.” She gave me the music bug. It was her fault that I sang everywhere I went. But it wasn’t until then that I realized it was important to her, and that she’d miss it when I grew up.
Mom died just over seven years ago. It was a long, slow, nasty death, as deaths go, so I was prepared and even relieved when she was finally free of it all. I mourned her years before as she forgot who we were and lost all those things above.
It will be a happy day to see her again with her love and personality restored. To hear her laugh again. I don’t know what my kids will remember most about me. Hopefully there will be some good things. It won’t be my pie. But I’m pretty sure mom will make enough for all of us.