See the photo at the top of this entry? That's me on the left, the little copycat watching my sister like a hawk. Whatever she was doing with her hand certainly seemed like the thing to do. Although I don't remember specifically, I'm guessing this photo was taken a split second before my left hand flew up to cup my own face. After all, if my sister was doing it, it must be cool. That beautiful lady behind us? That's our mother. Do you see how calm and serene she looks? I don't know how, but she always looked like that, and I'm happy to say she still wears that same sweet expression to this day.
Now if you were to ask my mother, she would deny that I was a "high-strung" child. Bless her, she has such a selective memory, or maybe she has simply chosen to block out some of the more memorable escapades. But...there is one little episode that was so outrageous that it sticks out to this day, even in her memory.
I was in college, but had gone home for a weekend to go shopping with Mom at the New Orleans Lake Forrest Plaza. That mall was brand new at the time, and had all kinds of great places to shop. Maison Blanche and D.H. Holmes anchored dozens of great little pricey boutique shops, all built around an ice skating rink, which was a novelty in itself in the deep South. I spotted a white one piece "jumpsuit" with a wide, stretchy red elastic belt. Now don't laugh. A get-up like that was quite stylish back then, in an Austin Powers kind of way....I promise! I tried it on, and it fit me like a glove. A quick glance at the price tag landed it right back on the rack, though. We continued to shop 'til we were almost ready to drop, then decided to stop for a quick lunch.
While we were eating I decided I'd break some pretty big news. Remember I told you I was in college? Well, I was almost done. In fact, I had only one term left before graduating, but had decided I'd had enough of college. I'm ashamed to say, but the fact that my parents had picked up the tab for my entire education never really occurred to me. In fact, I was a little surprised that my mother didn't seem to take my news too well. For some reason she thought my backup plan for supporting myself...which included the phrase "Would you like fries with that?"...was not my most sound career decision. We had quite a heated discussion, and both of us shed a few tears.
Then, in a moment which can only be described as sheer genius, my mother played quite a trump card. She said, "If you'll stay in school, I'll buy you that white jumpsuit". I think I considered her offer for...oh...about a half second...before flashing a big smile, and saying "OK!!" We finished our shopping and both of us headed home quite happy..me with a snazzy new jumpsuit, and her without a college dropout for a daughter.
Now, before you label me as the most shallow woman on the face of the earth, let me assure you that I've matured quite a bit in the past few decades. I went on to graduate a few months after that, raised two children of my own, and have spent the past 30-something years teaching. I don't kid myself that I've been the patient woman that my mother is. But I can say that she has set the bar quite high, and I continually strive to be the kind of mother to my children that she is to me and my sister.
My mother is a blessing to her husband (our Dad!), her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and a multitude of friends and extended family. She is having a milestone birthday this summer, and we are going to celebrate in style...(so don't argue, Mom!). Until then, though, I wanted the world to know that I love her a bunch.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom!