Admittedly she wasn't the type of mother who volunteered to host puppet shows in the basement on a rainy day, but she taught me that a Bloody Mary and a Coke would ease my motion sickness on bumpy plane flights. The carbonation in the Coke relieved excess air/gas in the gastrointestinal tract, the sugary soda and the vegetable juice provided some "umph" to coat my stomach, and the vodka [just a little] calmed my nerves.
There have been occasions over the years that I have been very hard on my mom. There were parts of her that weren't conventional. When we lived in the Midwest in the 70s, she looked different than the other moms. She didn't wear her hair permed and cut short, or carry Wyler's out to the backyard on a tray with a big smile. She macramed hanging plant holders and matter-of-factly told us to drink out of the hose if we were thirsty. Her long pony-tails, and Doris Day-like features caught people off-guard when she politely but firmly told a few folks in Indiana that she did not want them to say the "N" word in front of her or her children.
[Mom and me - Christmas 1967]
As each year passes, I appreciate my mother more and more. Trite, but true. I now recognize that she mothered conventionally in many ways -- the important ways -- by encouraging us to be kind, to laugh in general... and at ourselves, to read, to try new things, and ultimately to be independent.
Mom doesn't share my love of running, triathlons, skiing or hiking, and there are many aspects of our personalities that are different. But we are "one" when we shop, and I can't think of a single person that in spite of everything and anything I could have ever said or done to hurt them, remains in my life, other than Mom. She also makes me laugh. Contort my face in ugly ways laugh. I make her laugh too.
[We were trying to get a picture of her dog, Judy, in the tree. (Mom's idea, for the record.) Every
time Mom got close to the tree, Judy stepped on her head.]
We've been cooking together for years...
She's held the bowl not only when I've had to vomit, but has wedged herself between two car seats to help a sick boy on the way to the doctor's office. [It was serendipity at it's finest. She happened to be at our house for a visit.]
Mom was just here for a few days for Mother's Day weekend. We had a wonderful time. We become better friends as each year passes. We understand one another. I love that she's smart, funny, interesting... and pretty. She has good taste and a solid sense of self. She's always been a strong person [probably why we've had our challenges over the years], and that remains, but there's an increasing softness. A sensible softness, not an ooey-gooey saccharin softness. Difficult to describe.[Getting ready to go to brunch on Sunday. The four-year-old boy refused to have his picture taken with us.]
[A full belly (and a sucker from Kay-Kay) helped him change his mind at the restaurant.]
As a teenager many years ago, I had been particularly sassy and disrespectful to Mom. Through gritted teeth she said, "You may be my daughter, Christina Hautem, so I have to love you. But I don't have to like you. Right now, I don't like you very much."
I understood what she was saying then, but I understand the difference between "love" and "like" when it comes to family members more and more.
I suppose all I'm trying to say is... Mom's fun. I like her.
[The video shows Mom's picnic attempt with the four-year-old on a cold, windy day. She was also kind enough to bring a set of her old golf clubs for me. A friend invited me to play in a fund raising tournament. I don't golf... but Mother did her best to teach me.]