Growing up, my mother was politically liberal, opposing my father's conservative bent, but raised us in a home with routine, structure and emphasized the importance of being considerate and kind to others. In hindsight, my borderline-hippie mother was very old fashioned in her parenting style. I'm thankful.
I'm a day late with my tribute-to-Mom post. There are many fabulous "Mother" stories to share, but I thought the following captures her well...
I was home from college for a visit when I was 19 or 20. Even though I had no curfew while I was at school, Mother imposed one when I was home. She said she worried and that I would understand some day. Sometimes my curfew was midnight, sometimes it was 1:00 AM, but there was always a time I was to be home. I also had to give her an itinerary. She never checked, and we both knew I often fabricated where I would be, because going out with friends was just that... going out. We didn't always know where the soiree would be happening, until we got there.
One night I drank too much at a party. I spent the last two hours prior to curfew hugging a toilet in someone's apartment while strange guys peed in the bathtub behind me. A good friend held my hair and assured me, no one "noticed" I was so sick. The same good friend called my mother at midnight and politely told her I wasn't feeling well and we'd better spend the night at the apartment. Mother said, "No." She told my friend, I need to speak to Chrisy. Now.
"Moh-hom, I'm sick. I can't get in a car. I'll die."
"You won't die. Either [your friend] brings you home, or I'm coming to get you."
My friend drove me home because she was afraid of Mom. Mother was waiting in the driveway in her bathrobe. She gave my friend a dirty look, like it was her fault somehow that I was an idiot, and helped me into the house.
It was a long night. I threw-up in my bathroom and in the bowl Mom left by my bed. I moaned and groaned and made promises to God I swore I'd never break... but did. Early the next morning, Mother came in my room.
"Does Dad know?" I asked.
"No. But I don't know how we can hide this. Was it worth it? Was. it. worth. it. CHRISTINA?!"
I cried and said no, and told her how terrible I felt. She toggled between trying to help me feel better by being a good nurse, and scolding me. One moment she was placing her hand on my forehead, offering me water and ice chips, asking if I was ready for a little toast and aspirin, all in a soft, compassionate voice. Then, she'd furrow her brow and speak sternly, What were you thinking? Does this feel gooood? Does it? Do you realize what could happen to you? Anybody could take advantage of you. Anybody. Jesus.
Back and forth... compassionate, nursey Mom... then angry, disappointed, what the hell were you girls thinking? Mom.
She was like Shirley MacLaine as she stomped around my room in her bathrobe, shaking her head at me, giving me the business, opening my window because, "We need to get some fresh air in here... honestly, Chrisy." Then on a dime, "Honey, I'm sorry you feel so sick... can I get you ANYthing?" On. Off. Black. White. Anger. Softness. It was classic. It was Mother.
She may have understood my situation more than I realized at the time. I found these pictures of her when she was 19 and in her college dorm room. I'm thinking Grease, a little more Rizzo than Sandy...
Mother met Dad one summer while on college break. They married and three years later Mom gave birth to her first child. Me. Marriage and motherhood summoned Mom's inner Sandy... but Rizzo's still there.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom.