When I think about how my mom was a mom when I was growing up, I think about how crazy she was - but not as a mom, just as a person. It was who she was. How she fell through the attic while pregnant with my brother and was hanging through the ceiling in the garage. The time she super-glued her toe to the kitchen floor. All her wild friends... from the church youth group. When she fell asleep at the salon and the stylist gave her a buzz cut - and how she went on The Oprah Show to talk about it from the audience.
The things she'd get herself into didn't usually affect me as her kid except well there was that one time she sat me up on the kitchen counter and used pliers to try to pull out one of my loose teeth until my dad put a stop to it. And that time she believed what some people at church told her about my Cabbage Patch dolls having Chinese god names and we had to get rid of them.
She was always a working mom but I don't ever remember her not being there. I do remember how she had the summers off when we were little. We would spend our days at the beach or her friend's pool, or having yard sales. Or my favorite- at the library while she tutored other kids. I remember the first time I read my first Nancy Drew book on one of those days. And I remember when I moved out of the house just after high school, walking up the stairs one last time, she handed me a stack of towels and some money as she fought to hold back tears, it surprised and stung me, and I think it was then I saw her most clearly as my mom, at the very moment I was slipping away.
(I would move back within 6 months or so, no questions asked, at least from what I can recall.)
On the way home from school the other day my own kids began listing the things they think I am great at. Gray decided I was great at Three Things: 1. Being a good mom 2. Knitting and 3. Wheel of Fortune.
Smart kid to go for #1. But it's true. I am a good mom. I am really good at Wheel of Fortune, too. I could use a bit (okay a lot) more fun and crazy in my repertoire. I don't think I'm much fun at all. But I'm me, the person they love. I have no idea if my mom felt like a good mom when I was little. It was never on my mind. She was a presence who was there even when she wasn't. She was - and is - a great mom.
Happy Mother's Day, mom. See you soon!