May 14, 2012

A Peak at The Flip Side

Last week my smallest son pulled out a scrapbook I'd made of my mother and her life. I know I've given her a bad reputation here...I think I'll be wading through the murky waters of my relationship with mom until the day I die...

The other day though, while I was busy doing whatever it was I was doing, my son started reading her scrapbook out loud to me-I'm very glad he did. It helped me remember the things I loved and appreciated about mom.

One Mother's Day, a very long time ago, I sat down and made a list of all the things I'd learned from her and liked about her. I cut them out, rolled each little piece of paper into a scroll, taped it shut, stuck them all in a mason jar, and gave them to her. I told my mom she could only read one a day for however long it took her to read all of them. I found the jar and those little bits of paper in her apartment after she'd died and glued them, randomly, into her scrapbook. Those are the things my son read to me and those are the things I want to show you today. I want to show you the good things, the flip side, of my mother-

-she had an adventurous spirit and was always willing to try something new

-she was a great cook and made the best spaghetti sauce, fresh bread, broccoli patties and Chinese Spice Cake ever

-she loved our country and all it stands for

-she encouraged me not to be afraid of anything. (she failed at this, but she tried.) Mom encouraged me to "go for it" and make life rich with new experiences and memories.

-she never encouraged a bitter attitude toward my dad after my parents' divorce

-she never let go of her dreams-she pursued them until she'd achieved them

-she taught me to slow down and pay attention to, and enjoy the beautiful things around me-to see the mountains, the pine trees, or a sunset reflected in a mountain lake with my heart and not just my eyes

-she was very sentimental and saved even the most insignificant little gifts her children had given her

-she had a green thumb and could grow the most beautiful houseplants...

-she was a character- you never knew what was going to come out of her mouth next

-mom was spontaneous. One minute we'd be sitting in the living room watching a movie and the next we'd be in the car, driving through the mountains, eating a hot-fudge sundae while looking for elk in a meadow

-she taught me how to drive then gave me her car-my perfect little red Datsun. *sigh... What is it about your first car??

-mom gave me a love and appreciation for music

-she instilled in me a love for reading and learning new things

-she was willing to accept people and be a friend to anyone who came along

she taught me crazy songs and tried to teach me how to harmonize. Come to think of it, that's one dream she never realized...

-she could make any place, even a not so wonderful place, cozy and homey

-she was creative and could make something from nothing; she taught me how to make-do instead of buying new

-she loved life and never let it beat her down

-she found humor in everything and was able to laugh even when she was in horrible pain and dying

-she taught me to take simple, small experiences and make wonderful memories from them

-mom took life one day at a time

-she wrote funny poems

-she taught me "people are more important than things, Jude..."

-mom taught me to look for the good in people instead of just taking them at face value

-my mom knew how to make a normal, boring day special

-she was very generous and would give to anyone that needed something whatever she had to give

There are more little bits of paper in the jar, and more in her scrapbook I didn't share here. I just wanted to give you a glimpse of her-a peak at a very interesting, complicated woman.