Sunday, May 8, 2011

Well Deserved, Long Overdue

"All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother." -Abraham Lincoln

It's about time my mother gets a post of her own. Not necessarily because she deserves it, but because she demands it.

"How come you write about your father so much but not me," she routinely asks me. Well, there's my 'no mention of living relatives who don't reside in my house' rule. But since my mom broke the mold, I'll break my rule... for her. This once.

There's also the fact that my blog is named Daddy Knows Less, which apparently escapes her. In fact, a lot of things escape her. That's one of the things I love so much about her.

I also love that she's hilarious, often unintentionally. And it's not just because I have to tell her the same things over and over again and then get the same reactions from her over and over again like it's Groundhog Day. No... that's annoying.

Baby's first Christmas w/Mema
What makes her hilarious is times like when she was babysitting my daughter and I came home from work and saw that Lifetime was on the television, blasting, and nobody was watching. I could only laugh because I knew my little girl had to endure a day full of bad made-for-tv movies because a) "I don't know how to work the damn thing" and b) "At least part of the day we were watching 'Little House.'"

She's hilarious because the night before that, she asked me if she could "distinguish" her cigarette in a paper bag in my garage. She's so ridiculous sometimes I have no idea what part of her statements I should respond to first. Should I correct her vocabulary or remind her paper can catch fire?

While I can't stand that she smokes, it does provide for some moments of hilarity.

Sweaty meats are difficult to pronounce
My mother is a throwback to old-school Italian-Americans. She pronounces things like "mootsadell"(mozzarella) and "gobbagool" (capicola). Every time she says "brook-la-daab," I correct her.

"It's broccoli rabe, mom."

"We're Italian," she counters. "It's 'brook-la-daab."

Mmmm...broccoli rabe
"No, crazy lady. Even in Italy they say broccoli rabe."

I can't help it. It seems I choose to deliberately aggravate her sometimes.

But why do I do it? Did she not hug me enough? No, she hugged me plenty. She didn't pay enough attention to me? I am the youngest of four... so possible.

I also don't want to fall in to the trap of eulogizing her before I absolutely have to. On the rare occasion I pour my heart out to her in a card or on the phone, even she asks, "Am I dying?"

Regardless... because even though she does demand it... she also deserves it.

So here you go mom...

There was a time you were my favorite person in the world. I couldn't get enough of you. I snuggled with you on the couch as a boy, sang to you the soundtrack from "Moonstruck" as you cooked in the kitchen as a teenager, took your side whenever you were in an argument with anyone, anytime. Including dad.

It lasted roughly the first 20 years of my life. I was a bonafide momma's boy. Then that sweet adorable WASP came along and stole my heart. And all I ever hear you say about her is "she's wonderful." Yes, she is.

My two favorite moms: 12/31/05
She's the one who promised you a grandchild one teary-eyed New Year's Eve and delivered. She was pregnant six months later. Your granddaughter arrived a year and three months after that promise. That's just one of many reasons she's wonderful. And so are you.

I think you're amazing. You taught me to cook, to love, to care, to shop for the finest ingredients at the lowest price, to be outraged when something costs too much. I think you have shown in the eight plus years since daddy passed away that you are stronger than all four of your children combined.

"Look at my kids," I overheard you say the morning after that horrible night. I could only imagine what you were seeing because a lot of the week that followed is a blur.

"I have to make sure I live a long time so I don't do this to them."

Yes. You do. (Then why do you still smoke?) You are a treasure. Our treasure. The only one we have left. You're our link to our childhood, our past, our fleeting innocence.

The last thing I said to daddy before he died was "thank you." From the beginning of this blog - before your granddaughter was even born - I've written about how much I appreciate that moment. Had I known it would be the last time I ever saw him, I would have said so much more. But I am thankful I at least said that.

In case I don't say it enough... just so you know, mom... I love you. Thank you.

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