Saturday, May 7, 2016

For Mom

I actually wrote this for Sunday Sweets over on CW this week, but it ended up being such an Epbot thing, I decided to share it here, too. You guys just get different pictures. (If you'd rather see this illustrated with pretty cakes, then check out the Cake Wrecks version.)


I'm not sure when it happened, exactly - maybe sometime in middle school? - but I'll always remember the day Mom told me I was skipping school, and we were going shopping instead.

We spent the morning driving around to Goodwill and various thrift shops, trying on clothes, singing along to the car radio, and later stopping at Subway for lunch - which I remember being a treat, because we got those amazing cookies for dessert.

We didn't talk about school. We didn't talk about my friends or grades or any of those awkward teenage "body-changing" topics. We just told each other which tops looked best, chatted about nothing, laughed, and had fun.

It was the first time I realized Mom wasn't just my mom, she was also my friend.

 (I'm actually in my 20s here, but it's the oldest non-baby pic I could find of us together.)
Mom was an RN while I was growing up, which meant my brother and I got zero sympathy for our scraped knees and boo-boos. Don't get me wrong; Mom was an expert at patching us up - but if we wanted a hearty "You poor thing!", then Dad was the place to go.

I later learned Mom was working nights in the ICU then, and routinely saw the kind of pain and grief I can't even fathom, because she came home in the morning and smiled and hugged us just the same.


Mom's nursing graduation photo.

Baaaaby pictuuuuures.
 Love my mom's hair here.

 
 My folks' dapper hat game was strong, y'all.

Once, on another hooky day with Mom, she and I went to the matinee of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - you know, the first live-action one?

It was terrible. But Mom loves terrible kid movies, and to this day she'll request we see whatever the latest animated or G-rated flick is, no matter how ominous the reviews, and then she'll laugh and gasp and have so much fun that you'll wind up loving it, too.


In my teens Mom was in a car accident that prevented her from ever working as a nurse again. She had to wear a neck brace for ages, and later had a surgery to wire her jaw shut for a while. Then she got braces... at the same time *I* had braces. 

People kept mistaking us for sisters, which Mom REALLY liked, but I found mortifying - especially that time an older friend of mine hit on her... with me standing right there.
 (I'm appreciating those good genes now, but at the time I was still being offered the children's menu in high school. Ha!)

Today my folks live in a different state, but I'm proud to say they are still my friends. We visit often, and have even gone to Dragon Con together the last few years, where Mom loves dressing up steampunk - with outfits she still puts together from the thrift store.





Lately Mom likes to video chat and show me all the crafts she's teaching during her volunteer work at the local retirement home. And now she and Dad have joined a Harley Davidson group/club/gang(?), so they spend weekends taking long rides together decked out in the most, um, fascinating fashions.


I could have gone my whole life without seeing my mother in leather chaps, you guys. MY WHOLE LIFE.

Mom's the most servant-hearted person I know, and has seen and endured a lot of pain, though you'd never know it. Somehow she's managed to keep a sense of wonder and whimsy through life - something I try hard to emulate. She raised me to love reading and Star Trek and fantasy and fun, and taught me that when the going gets rough, you turn up the music and sing extra loud - and off-key. ;)

Taken last month in Knockturn Alley at Wizarding World.

For my folks' 40th anniversary a few years ago, we sent them to Disney World - mostly for Mom - and I'll never forget her delight when we told her the news.


She's the big kid who makes you remember how great life really is sometimes - even when life really isn't so great. The best moms are like that. And days like today help us remember to thank our moms, and be grateful for the things we just didn't know how to appreciate when we were younger.

So happy Mother's Day, Mom. Thanks for showing me that when I thought you were being the most embarrassing, you were really showing me how to be the best adult. I love you, I'm proud of you, and I hope we can go shopping again sometime soon.


My favorite picture of my Mom ever - though I'll admit I'm biased, since I'm the one who took it. 


Thanks for indulging my trip down Memory Lane, gang.

40 comments:

  1. Jen, what a beautiful tribute to your mom! (And also, those three-buckled shoes you're wearing as a baby?! Amazing.)

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    1. Agreed. Awesome shoes. And adorable dress. And your bro's groovy leisure suit! Awww! It's killing me with 70's!

      KW

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    2. My mom used to tell the story of how those were the ONLY pair of shoes I couldn't kick off as a baby, so now I always think of them as little strait-jackets for my baby feet. ;)

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    3. I was about to quip that, knowing kids, it was because she kicked the one and two-buckled ones right off...

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  2. Aaawwwww <3 <3 <3

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  3. Oh my gosh, that moment your parent(s) buys a motorcycle when you're an adult, and realize they just might be cooler than you...
    I've been there...

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  4. Wait. Did you just say the First Ninja Turtles movie was terrible? Whaaa??!

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    1. Ha! Well, I haven't seen it since, so I could absolutely be wrong. And I still love (animated) TMNT today, so clearly it didn't do any damage to my fandom.

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  5. This is wonderful, Jen. Happy Mother's Day, Jen's mom!!

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  6. You are so lucky to have a Mom like this - I should know, she sounds a lot like my own Mum who is one of my best friends. I'm trying to emulate her with my relationship with my teen daughter, it's surprisingly difficult to be parent AND friend!

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  7. Jen, This brought me to tears. Thanks so much for sharing this with us, and tell your mom I love her too now! My own mom is no longer with us, and not a day goes by that I don't miss her.

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    1. I'm sorry for your loss, and I agree, this piece was a lovely tribute. My mom passed almost two years ago now, and it feels like nearly every day, I'm reminded of some new thing that I'm missing being able to do without her here. She was 59, and now will never attend my wedding (if I marry) or meet her grandchildren, (if I have kids) and the magnitude of that loss is something I'm still trying to come to terms with two years after the fact.

      This was beautiful, Jen, thanks for sharing. Now I'm going to look at the pretty cakes version and skip the text this time--I don't need to cry twice. :) Hug your mom tight. She sounds awesome.

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  8. Great tribute to your Mom.

    Your comment about her volunteering at the senior center reminded me of my great-grandmother who in her 80s was volunteering with "the old people" at the senior center. And I said "aren't you older than most of them?" to which she replied, "maybe, but I'm not OLD like those people"

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  9. Awww...hey, who's chopping onions in here? *sniff* Geeky moms for the win! I too have a geeky mom. She's pretty awesome. :)

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  10. Cypress Gardens! Woot!

    Hey, beautiful Sharon, Jen's a lucky girl to have an awesome mom like you! Thanks so much for making her! Thanks for instilling her with wonder and fun, and thanks for being such a shining example of generosity and positivity. I'm sure that she's exactly who she is because of how giving, selfless, and kind you are. I know you must be incredibly proud of her for the difference she makes in the world, and we readers/friends/fans are extremely grateful to have her in our lives! Wishing you a wonderful Mother's Day!

    Jen, thanks for sharing these photos with us! I "awwwwww"ed over every one (Were you EVER not ridiculously adorable?), and I got all teary-eyed reading the post. Can't wait to read it again on CakeWrecks tomorrow illustrated with Sunday Sweets! Happy Mother's Day to you, too! Lily and Tonks lurve you like crazy! I hope they make you cards or hairballs or something to show their appreciation.

    KW

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  11. This is such a lovely tale, and I see much of my relationship with my mother there as well. On a different note, PLEASE PLEASE TELL ME YOU HAVE SEEN MISSTASIA ON BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT ALREADY! Princess Quartet. Trust me.

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  12. You look EXACTLY like Alicia Silverstone in that first photo in this post! Also, your mom sounds AMAZING and I'm so glad you have such a good relationship with her!

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  13. mintchocolatechipMay 7, 2016 at 9:56 PM

    I remember your prior posts about going to DragonCon with your mom, that is so great that you can share that. :D

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  14. Aww. Your mom is awesome, clearly such a positive force in your life. It's so great how our relationships with our moms (usually) grow so much deeper with age.

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  15. Sounds like both you AND your mom are lucky. You for getting her in the mom lottery and her for getting you!

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  16. Such a sweet tribute to your mom. I may or may not be crying *shifty eyes*...okay I'm totally crying. But it's because you helped remind me of all the wonderful things my mom gave me in the short time she was in my life. She's the reason I love video games (I caught her playing Tetris on my original Game Boy after school one day.) She bought me the Crystal Castles game for Atari and would play Qbert and Frogger for hours with me. She let me be me, even if that meant wearing pretty dresses and working on cars with my dad. She was in a car accident and passed away when I was 9, but in that time she made all the difference in who I am today. So glad you have a mom that's cool too Jen.

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  17. That was beautiful, Jen! I feel lucky you shared this with us, because it's so personal and wonderful. Your mom (and dad!) did a great job raising you to be the fantastic, awesome, super-cool chick you are today, and we owe them a debt of thanks on this Mother's Day too. Because if they hadn't been them, we wouldn't have you! <3

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  18. And now I love your mom too! She's beautiful and cool; now we know where you got it from.

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  19. You are so very fortunately. Let's just say my mum was nothing like yours - and let it go at that. I can absolutely imagine my dad (who was a minister) riding a motorcycle, but never my mum.

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  20. This is the greatest. Thank you for sharing some of your beautiful and quirky mama with us. <3

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  21. What a lovely, lovely post. Your mother is absolutely awesome, and you are the apple that fell smack dab next to the tree. :-)

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  22. I am a loyal Cake Wrecks reader, and I don't think I've ever left a comment before today. I followed the link from CW, to see the other pictures. I have tears in my eyes, wishing I could have experienced the "friend" portion of life with my Mom. She's been gone almost 16 years, and I miss her so much. She never got the chance to see me become a mother, and I never got the chance to ask for her motherly advice. Thank you so much for sharing your love for your mother with the rest of us.

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  23. Aw, what a sweet tribute! And little Baby Jen is too cute. :)

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  24. Your Mom was just starting you on steampunk early with those baby shoes. They would be awesome as Alice in Wonderland.....

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  25. Lovely and sweet thoughts of your mother.

    And, nerdy moment, I love older photos and your mother's graduation picture is totally adorable!

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  26. I had to ho to cakewrecks to see how on earth you could make this text with cake pictures, the pictures were so suitable. Then I read it on cake wrecks, and decided it was even better! With the cakes accompanying it, it was like you were giving each of those cakes to your mum!

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  27. I had to ho to cakewrecks to see how on earth you could make this text with cake pictures, the pictures were so suitable. Then I read it on cake wrecks, and decided it was even better! With the cakes accompanying it, it was like you were giving each of those cakes to your mum!

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  28. Must be a lot of pollen in the air. *sniff* Beautiful post, Jen. Thanks for sharing your awesome mother with us.

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  29. Love this!!

    And I can't even say how cool I think it is that your mom dresses up for Dragon Con. :)

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  30. Oh for goodness sake, I'm crying here in Baltimore! Sweet tribute!

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  31. My mom died 7 months ago so this was my first Mother's Day without her. We were very close and I have the most wonderful memories of her--for which I'm grateful. But boy, it was tough to get through the day without her. Thanks for posting this and I'm glad you recognize how fortunate you are--you both are! :) You and I are both lucky, aren't we?

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  32. Your parents look so familiar to me! Have they attended LeakyCon, by chance?

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  33. What a beautiful tribute to your mother. She sounds like an absolutely wonderful woman!

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  34. this was so lovely. thank you for sharing your love for your momma. i appreciated this so much i don't mind that you made me cry...and miss my mom desperately all over again. xo

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