Monday, December 9, 2013

I'm proud of my mom, but I still miss the churros.

A few weeks ago I had to take my baby brother for a checkup. The fool had broken his nose playing football, and since mom and dad were working it fell to big sister to accompany him to the ENT.

I call him my baby brother because, well, he is. There is just a touch less than 16 years between us, and I spent most of my teenage years getting some subtle and not-so-subtle judgments from people who assumed I was a teenage mother. Whatever. The truth is that—for all intents and purposes—I am his 2nd momma.

Kind of.

I yell at him for driving too fast, counsel his choice of girls, tell him he’s being an idiot for continuing to play football after he broke his nose (twice). But we’re still brother and sister. Which means when we go to the ENT and the doctor comes in wearing one of those cartoon doctor head things that are like a headband with a big mirror and light on them, we look at each other and giggle. And when he examines Casey and says that he has “a significant deformity,” well then we flat out crack up. Loudly and inappropriately.

For what it’s worth—like many families—we’re too loud. We talk too loud, laugh too loud, make jokes and poke fun. Loudly. What can I say? We’re a rather odd mix of German, Italian and Jewish. Like I said, loud. Oy.

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our attempt at a “then me/now me” photo.


Two brothers, one sister-in-law and my parents—who have been together for over 40 years, married for 38. ::coughcough no nieces or nephews coughcough::

So no matter how we may annoy each other or fight, the truth is we love each other. I’m proud of my brothers—who they are, the men they are. I’m not ashamed to be associated with them…errr, most of the time. Of course, I’ve always been “daddy’s girl”. I’m the oldest and only girl.
But, I’m the only girl. I’m my mom’s only daughter. And, uh, she’s my only mom. ;) The mother/daughter relationship…literally thousands of books have been written on that subject. And you’ll never cover it all. It’s complex and tricky, and OH MAN I HAVE FOUR DAUGHTERS WHAT HAVE I DONE???
I’ve become a woman, a wife, a mother myself—and I know she’s proud of me. But becoming a woman, a wife, a mother has given me a new perspective. And guess what? I’m just as proud of her.

My mom started working when she was 16. She was a waitress—and a good one. As kids we would go eat dinner at Chi-Chi’s on Wednesday nights when she waited tables. Jesse and I fought over who would get to use the push vac to clean up the crumbs under her empty tables (he usually won. humph).

It’s hard and very unglamorous work. My mom worked as a waitress for decades, because her family needed it. After she had my youngest brother she decided to branch out. She trained as a Bradley teacher—it’s a natural childbirth method for the unfamiliar. Think Lamaze minus the “hee-hee-hoo”. She had a love for the medical field and, for a while, teaching groups of expectant parents in our living room was enough for her.

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                                                                                                       mom-mom and Ava
For a while.
I remember exactly what year it was. She signed up for school and it started just after I gave birth to Ava in 2004. I was married and out of the house, my brothers were older and not so dependent. And she decided to become a nurse.

My mom enrolled in college at the age of…..no. I won’t go there. Let’s just say “the age of Old Enough To Be A Grandmother.” She studied and did homework. She attended class after class and did clinical and followed and learned and after a while…she graduated. I don’t want to minimize how hard it was. Because it certainly wasn’t easy. She wanted to give up. She cried. She got angry.


But she did it.

My mom became a nurse. No-- My Mom became a Nurse at a time when many woman are taking up quilting. My Mom became a Nurse at a time when many woman are eyeing up the bedrooms of soon-to-be-gone children as potential craft rooms. My Mom became a Nurse and didn’t care that she wasn’t the age of your typical college student.

My Mom had bigger fish to fry. She did something she had wanted to do for years, and when she graduated I was there with flowers and my kiddos, cheering on My Mom who became a Nurse. She worked as a waitress for almost 30 years. But now she’s doing something she loves, and she does it well.

And it’s cool, because guess who still remembers how to make fried ice cream for family dinners? #winning

 

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