This is my mom. She is so many things to the world.
Mom is soft-hearted. She has inherited several dogs throughout her adulthood, and has patiently fed them and taken them all for walks and games of Throw The Ball, every day. She did just about the same with her kids, and loads of our scruffy farm-kid friends.
Mom is adventuresome. She eagerly tried cross-country skiing and snorkeling, and she took up boogie-boarding WELL past the age at which I plan to stop wearing swimming suits in public.
Mom is musically gifted. She has played the piano for more choir recitals, weddings, church services, and plays than she probably cares to name. She loves opera, the symphonic classics, and certain hand-picked-by-her-children Beatles songs. (For the sake of family harmony she pretended to like Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Doors, but drew the line at Aretha Franklin and The Rolling Stones.) With exasperation Mom coined the pop music category "I Fed The Cat Songs," for songs that go on and on and on and talk about nothing of consequence. Gee, that sounds familiar.
Mom is funny. I think you'd have to have a refined sense of humor to keep from yelling all the time, around our house anyway.
She puts up with her children, which is my working definition of a mother. There you go -- Mom is the template by which I judge all other mothers.
I love you, Mom.
Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mother, and to all of the mothers and grandmothers out there.
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An edit to add this, which I found in my inbox, from my brother Mantel Man. He's so darned good:
Our Mom certainly deserves all the accolades you gave her, and more. So here are a few more.
Mom is soft-hearted: I'll never forget something she said at a party by the pool on the ranch, with Gubby and several of our other friends there. A foolish old woman who rented a mobile home on our ranch (one of three formerly used to house dairy employees) had a mangy little dog that had already turned the trailer into a superfund site because the woman was too lazy to take the mutt out for its fifty-times-a-day constitutional. That very day the little vermin had expired and gone to a special place in Doggy Hell. Any other landlady would have shouted, "At last, at last!" Our mother instead wept a bit and lamented that the woman would probably be lonely.
Mom is funny. Your readers might be amused to know that whenever we kids quote her, we instinctively use a sing-song falsetto voice for some reason - prob'ly because we tend to be teasing her a bit when we quote her. "Anyone want a sandwich? How about a margarita?"
Mom is musically gifted: besides having perfect pitch, which I'll never grasp, Mom also knew opera was a perfect way to get her noisy kids to go outside without her having to pitch us out. One day in early December, when we were little, she announced she had something special for us as we gathered in the living room. "What is it, what is it?" we asked her as she carefully began removing an LP record from a box. With a mischievous, "here comes the boogeyman" look on her face, she replied, "It's an OPERA RECORD!" Then, after driving several miles to pick us up, she complimented us on our foot speed and brought us home for the first playing of what soon became our favorite Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer album.
Laurie, you are absolutely right that our mom is the standard by which all other moms must be judged. She sets the bar.
But you are horribly, criminally mistaken about the origins of the "I Fed the Cat Song" category. It was MY invention -- and it came to me while we were listening to one of YOUR records, by the way. And Mom agreed with me. Sorry.
Laurie adds: That, right there, is why children should be seen and not heard. Thanks, Mantel Man.