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Mother Knows Best?
I love you mom. She is an incredibly strong woman. She raised four children and worked in the family business for twenty-five years at a time when women were not supposed to work. He has this power that I knew was passed down from generation to generation; my grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, me, and my daughters. And that energy was mixed with old wives’ tales, cooking, and Mom’s anxiety and her family’s fears…overwhelmingly added.
My mother got married at a young age. She met my father at the age of fourteen and never looked back. She raised babies with Karo syrup and milk for formula, changed cloth diapers and plastic panties, cleaned us up after we played in the mud all day, got her four children, her husband, and herself to church every Sunday, until she collapsed. down a flight of stairs in the church basement with my newborn brother in her arms. As he rolled the plane kept him safe and sound. He didn’t know it at the time but he had broken his hip. He now walks with a slight limp where he found that in his later years he lived off kilter. Maybe this sounds like many mothers of days gone by but Mama took care of her mother when she was eight years old and even cooked for her baby. They thought that Mama’s mother was pregnant but after two years there was no child, but the belly was growing, it became very bad. He had a water boil that weighed more than fifty kilograms. Disbelieving the doctors at the time everyone hoped he would ‘snap’ out of it. My mother and grandmother took care of the home. Mom worked in a peach factory at the age of nine to support the family. Eventually her mother had to have surgery but she was unable to move so the surgery was done at home. While Mama was at school she was not sure if her mother would be alive when she returned that day. His mother lost seventy pounds the first day and was rushed to the hospital.
My mother went back to a ‘normal’ life after that but inside she had started to form her own views on life and those views carried over to raising her own children.
Mom and Dad have lived with Lee and me since Peanut was born. Peanut is about thirteen now and has had the good fortune of being raised by two generations of mothers.
I find myself laughing now at some of the things my mother used to say that I thought were true. I discovered that some of my mother’s wisdom came from being afraid and wanting to know all the answers even if she didn’t know them.
I got to the end. I was a homebody. My mother was very happy that I was a girl. Mother, it was difficult for me to give birth, but why didn’t she? He broke his hip and didn’t know it. You tell the story again every year on my birthday,” you didn’t come out. You were stuck. The doctor used the force and everything. The doctor said there was nothing he could do and they were preparing me for surgery. I screamed “God, Universe, Angels…anyone who is there give me a yank! I yelled, “I’m your mother you better listen to me…get out…NOW!” He said at that moment I flew out as if I heard what he said. He said that from that moment I always wanted to live inside rather than in the physical world.
We get along famously. Like a pair of virgins attached at the waist. We have a ball when we go to town and eat Chinese food together. You need my arm from here to there. He will not use a cane and will not go to any store without a basket to lean on. He doesn’t want anyone to think he can’t pull his weight in his eighties.
He likes to pass on simple experiences. It doesn’t come from wanting to be overly complicated; it comes from not wanting to ‘out’ you in some way. When we decide on a place to eat he repeatedly asks if I want to go somewhere else, “We don’t have to go there. We can go here if you want. I mean the Chinese sounds good but if we don’t. good bye to you.”…
“Okay Mom. I like China.”
“Me too but maybe you don’t feel that way today even though I do. Your dad loves China. We don’t always go with him instead when you bring him into town to see the doctor.”
When we’re driving he hangs on the handlebars and yells, “Oh!” every few minutes. You have poor vision and those poor eyesight make things appear closer than they really are.
“Where are we going? You’ve never walked this way before,” he says as if I’m doing something wrong.
“We walk this way all the time Mom.”
“Well…I guess I’m just a difference. I don’t know where. Are you sure…”
He insists on buying me candy when I help him like I’m a little girl. This completely cracks me up. Don’t get me wrong, I love sweets but I don’t eat much anymore, especially since I’m losing weight, but that doesn’t matter to Mom. She always tells me that I am too thin and if I lose more weight I will look older than I am and look thinner.
“Not well, Bethie.”
“Bethie? I made pinto beans with ham and bacon in them. You’re going to eat them, aren’t you?”
He doesn’t seem to remember that I haven’t eaten pinto beans since I was little. They gave me a stomach ache even now.
“You don’t like my beans, okay…you know beans don’t make you fat? They just give people gas…that’s all. I figured out how to make beans not visit people. you know.”
I can hear the laughter in my throat. I hold it together. I don’t want to bother him.
“How is mom?”
“You put yourself in baking soda.”
“Did you know that vinegar cures EVERYTHING? If you drink a cup of vinegar every day you will not get cancer.”
I don’t say a word. He had cancer and is in remission. Drink a cup of vinegar every day.
“Bethie? You know what drives me crazy? When your dad sneezes. I’m afraid he might blow his head off one day. You know…that happens sometimes.”
Sit down and giggle.
“Bethie? I always heard that when a man gets older he loses interest. You know what I mean don’t you?”
I nodded my head hoping he wouldn’t continue the lesson.
“You’re STILL holding my bottom. Can you believe it?”
Yes, I believe. Since his stroke he does it in front of all of us all the time.
“You know…I love that old coat. I wouldn’t take a million for him, but I wouldn’t take a penny.”
I must say living with my parents is a wonderful experience. They make me laugh every day of my life whether on purpose or not.
I know that all his worries, all his stories, all his complaints; all his questions are part of who he is. And I’m going to take it all on for a few more years with this amazing woman I call ‘Mom.’
As I was preparing the guinea piggies for breakfast, Mom came up behind me and gave me a big hug, “I love you my daughter.”
“I love you too, Mom.”
“Can I feed the pigs?”
I give him a tray full of vegetables. It’s one of his favorite things to do. She walks into the pigsty with that cute little limp, holding the lettuce up in the air, and giggles like a little girl as they reach up with their starfish paws.
My mother…one in a million…I wouldn’t trade her for the world.
Please visit my profile page where you will find my ‘My Imperfect Life’ Facebook fan page. Daily posts! http://www.facebook.com/myimperfectlyperfectlife
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