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My mother doesn’t have any gray hair. Seriously, not a single one. It’s less to do with genetics and more to do with having three perfect children who never caused her a moment’s stress in all their lives.

(No need to adjust the sound on your computer; that’s just my mother’s laughter you’re hearing.)

Okay, so maybe we weren’t perfect in the traditional sense. We were well intentioned. Usually. Sometimes. I think.

I’ve already talked about our most recent shenanigans and the cause of Mom’s last appointment with her colorist. Sadly (for her) such events have become the norm in our family’s history. It’s not that we set out to stress her out or make her life crazy; we just have a talent for making her heart stop.

Top 5 Reasons I Love Our Mother:

  1. She taught me about strength, courage, and humor in the face of life’s toughest moments.
  2. She supports my dreams, even when those dreams move me 3,000 miles away.
  3. She gave me her love of books and reading.
  4. She fought fiercely for me at my lowest point and understands what I mean when I talk about the pit.
  5. She is the first person I want to talk to when anything good or bad happens in my life.

When we were younger, my sister was really bad at purses. She could never keep track of her purses. Once, on a trip with Nana, she left her purse at a restaurant and didn’t remember until we were two hours past the Canadian border. Another time, we were leaving a restaurant with Mom and 20 minutes into our drive home, Ceci thought it would be funny to pretend she’d left her purse behind. Before she could even tell Mom she was only kidding, Mom had popped a u-turn in the middle of the road, screaming at Ceci for being forgetful, irresponsible, and threatening to take away her purse forever. It took Ceci a good minute to get up enough courage to squeak from the backseat, “Just kidding?”

Mom was not amused.

My brother is no better than we are. I’d say he’s responsible for about half the gray hair she does not have. And that’s not just from April Fool’s Day. This is a kid who, at age 3, stood up on the couch and took a flying leap into the coffee table for no discernable reason whatsoever. I don’t know how many stitches his chin required but I do remember Mom asking him over and over again, “WHY DID YOU DO THAT? WHERE IS YOUR BRAIN?”, a question asked often in our family, to everyone.

Top 5 Reasons Eric Loves Our Mother:

  1. She’s my momma.
  2. She loves me so much that she cries when she sees me nowadays.
  3. She still loves me after all the crap I’ve put her through.
  4. She puts really weird/awesome things in our stockings every year.
  5. She makes me cherry pie for my birthday.

Mom didn’t keep her emotions to herself, no matter where we were. She disagrees with this memory but Ceci (and my friend Corinna) will back me up. See, for our birthdays, she would always take us to our favorite restaurant and to the mall. We were allowed to bring a friend. For my 12th birthday, I requested Red Lobster. I cannot remember exactly what was wrong with Mom’s meal, but the waiter got an earful. I think it was something to do with her salad? Anyway, her displeasure resulted in a marginally less expensive check at the end of the meal and my utmost embarrassment that my mother had YELLED at the waiter in front of my friend. The horror!

My favorite memory though is the time we were trying on bathing suits at Dillards. I had just graduated from high school and was getting ready to go to college. This was our last shopping trip before I left; Ceci came along, as did my bff Jill. The day before this shopping trip, I may have accidentally dyed my hair dark maroon. Maybe. Possibly. Definitely.

So we’re in the fitting rooms, all trying on swimsuits and talking to each other through the doors. At one point, Mom asked Ceci if she could see the bikini she’d tried on. She was met with silence on the other side of the door.

Before I go on, I should tell another story. The summer before Ceci’s junior year of high school, she went to South Padre Island with her friends. She came home with a naked fairy on her stomach, sprinkling fairy dust over her belly button. She’d been forbidden from getting a tattoo until after she graduated from college, so she told Mom she’d compromised by getting this ink drawing instead. It would last only a few weeks and GOOD NEWS! Ceci had an artist friend who had offered to keep painting it on as it faded! The perfect temporary tattoo!

Mom bought it.

So 4 years later, we’re in the dressing rooms and Mom is knocking on Ceci’s door.

Mom: Hey Ceci, let me see that bikini you tried on.

Ceci: Silence

Mom: Are you okay? Hello?

Ceci: Okay, Mom. You can see it. But if you open this door, you’re going to have to face something that will be very difficult for you. So be sure before you open the door.

Mom: (breaks down the door) What? What’s going on?

Ceci: (says nothing)

Mom: (stares at Ceci and then her eyes fall on the naked fairy.)

Mom: Is. That. A. Real. Tattoo?

Ceci: Yes.

Mom: (licks her thumb and tries to rub the fairy away) WHITE TRASH. LOW CLASS. I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU HAVE MARKED YOUR BODY PERMANENTLY WITH SOMETHING SO TRASHY. TRASHY TRASHY TRASHY. MY DAUGHTER IS WHITE TRASH. MY DAUGHTER HAS NO CLASS.

Ceci: I think you had to have known Mom. I mean really, deep down, didn’t you already know it was a tattoo?

Mom: YOU TOLD ME IT WAS AN INK DRAWING! I HAD NO REASON NOT TO TRUST YOU! CLASSLESS! LIAR! WHITE TRASH LIAR!

Me: (because piping up at this point is SUCH a good idea, clearly.) Mom, it’s not that big a deal!

Mom: (turns on me) YOU KEEP QUIET. YOUR SISTER HAS A WHITE TRASH TATTOO AND YOU HAVE STUPID MAROON HAIR. I HAVE NO DAUGHTERS. JILL, YOU ARE MY NEW FAVORITE NOW. GO PICK OUT A BATHING SUIT.

Me and Ceci: MOM!

Mom: NO. I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT. WHITE TRASH, CLASSLESS, MAROON HAIR, TATTOO DAUGHTERS.

Top 5 Reasons Ceci Loves Our Mother:

  1. She’s fun and funny and lets us make fun of her (most of the time).
  2. She has always accepted me for who I am, which is good because sometimes I’m weird.
  3. She is one of my bestest friends.
  4. She has taught me that we are resilient and can overcome even the deepest pain and sorrow.
  5. She pours the best glass of wine.


Dear Mom,

We might have put you through a lot, we might have caused the gray hair you don’t have, but you would do anything for us. So this is for you, to thank you for everything. And to tell you that we love you and if we could, we’d fill your days with gardenias and coconut cream pies.

And maybe once we’re all rich and famous, we’ll pay for your own personal colorist.

Happy Mother’s Day from your crazy children!

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