I remember vividly the day I uttered those infamous words…
“I will never become my mother!”
Some things my mom did seemed so odd, over-protective, and sometimes just downright gross. Where on earth did she come up with this stuff? Was there a manual for moms titled “1001 Weird Parenting Tips?” I had decided at the age of ten that I would never read that book! I would never do “that” to my kid!
As sure as I sit here, I have become my mother, every inch of me.
Things Only a Mother Can Think Up
Now, one would think memories of your mother’s hands would be good ones. Caressing your back gently, lulling you to sleep when you had a cold or a scary dream. Not me. I can remember my mom licking her thumb to clean off smudges from my chubby cheeks. I can still feel her wet fingers swiping across my face, as I scrunched up my nose trying to dodge the incoming spit-fest. Unfortunately for me, I was a messy eater. She used the same technique for my hair as well. No Dippety-Doo was ever needed in our house …we had mom. Oddly enough, this practice of spit-combing and spit-washing seemed to be mostly in public. My only saving grace was that her germs contain the same DNA as myself.
My mom was also known as the “McGyver” of problem-solving among the neighborhood kids. Growing up in Northern Minnesota where winter seemed to last 8 months out of the year, me, my sister, and friends would spend every waking moment ice skating on the frozen pond or sledding. We would only take breaks when our mothers rang the dinner bell or when we became soaked to the bone. My mom’s fastest way to dry our feet and socks out was for us to sit in front of the oven and stick our feet in “to bake.” I am certain we had a dryer, but daylight during sledding season was crucial, so she decided she could get our socks dry and our feet warm simultaneously and save us precious time. Some of the best conversations I had with my sister were sitting “in the oven!”
My Mom the “Super Fan”
When asked how to describe my mother, most would say she was like a quiet little mouse. Soft-spoken and small in stature. She was…except for those times when my siblings and I were participating in sporting events. I can remember getting ready to serve the ball at my high school volleyball game, only to be abruptly interrupted by a blood-curdling scream of “C’mon Brr-enda!!” I looked up into the stands to see my mother’s veins popping out of her neck and fists shaking violently as she cheered me on!
“Is that your mom?“ my teammates whispered to me during the coach’s pep talk. Sigh. “Yup.” How could such an ear-piercing sound come from such a small person? I would never do that to my child…never.
Eating My Words
Over the years, I found myself adopting much of my mother’s odd parenting techniques…without me even realizing it. I had finally succumbed to doing the things I said I would never do to my children. Yes, I have given emergency “spit baths,”,hung wet soccer socks out the car window and drove around Des Moines on the freeway until they dried, and there has been lots…and I mean lots…of vein-popping screaming, fist-shaking at their games. My daughters still talk about hearing me scream, “Bug ’em…drive them nuts!” at their basketball games. After having three girls and listening to them argue over Barbies, I am confident their voices will carry over a soccer field as mine did!
Being a mom means being creative in times of desperate need. My mother taught me those skills without me even knowing it, and boy, am I glad she did! I can’t think of anyone else I would rather be like. Over the years I have heard my own daughters say they will never embarrass or “do that” to their children. Guess what my darlings, I have already seen the signs, it’s in your blood! I have become my mother, and I am definitely OK with it!