Mother’s Day may be the dedicated occasion for honoring our moms, but like many of us, I celebrate mine regularly throughout the year. There are so many small, everyday things she did for my sister and me that I vividly recall decades later, little acts of love and giving and selflessness and sweetness that I remember as much as the biggies, like when she taught me to ride a bike or organized a trip to Disney World.
Sometimes I wonder what similar stuff my children will recall about me years later. Hopefully it won’t be my habit of screeching, “We are LATE and we have to leave the house NOW!!!”
The things my mom did that I will never, ever forget:
- The way she’d cheerfully wake my sister and me up with, “Good mooooooorning, girls! Time to get up!” and when we’d beg for five more minutes, she’d say “For you, of course.”
- How Mom would stand in front of our bathroom mirror and spritz on Chanel No. 5, and when I’d ask for some, she’d run a finger over her neck then tap it on mine. I will always think of my mom when I get a whiff of Chanel No. 5.
- The praise in her words and in her eyes when she looked at a homework assignment or school project I was proud of.
- Dance parties in the kitchen!
- How she encouraged my sister and me to put on “plays” for her. We’d perform in our living room and she’d be the audience on the couch, clapping and cheering wildly.
- The times Mom volunteered to serve lunch at my school. It was always a thrill to walk into the lunchroom and see her standing there. Also: I got a bazillion extra slices of pizza.
- When she’d stand at the bottom of the slide and catch me as I slid down.
- How she’d deliver slices of apple, peach, and plum as I sat on the couch and watched TV at night.
- The way she’d rub noses with me when we snuggled. She still does it, to this day.
- How Mom didn’t hound me to practice piano. She was of the mindset that I should practice when and if I wanted to; she felt that it should be something I enjoyed and should not be forced. My mother was basically the opposite of a stage mom, and it has formed the way I approach my daughter’s practice of violin, lacrosse, and gymnastics.
- The “I love you” notes she put in my lunch bag.
- When she’d get dolled up for a Saturday night out, and I’d ask her to make me up, too, she’d swipe a bit of lipstick on me and say that I looked beautiful all the time.
- Her silly nicknames for me, including, but not limited to, “Yipsy” and “Boopsie.”
- Her fun DIY dinners: A plate of bread, a plate of sliced turkey, sandwich fixings, done. I do this, too, when I’m feeling lazy, only I call it “smorgasbord dinner” and my daughter thinks they’re the best thing ever.
- When she’d place a damp washcloth on my head when I had a fever.
- How she’d walk my sister and me to the library on Fridays after school and help us pick out books. I credit her with my love for reading.
- How she taught us the power of doing good. My mother was the kind of person to escort little old ladies across the street, and she’d regularly remind my sister and me to help other people.
- The homemade chocolate birthday cakes with vanilla frosting. Typically a little lopsided and maybe a bit crumbly, but delish and baked with a lavish amount of love. If I close my eyes, I can see my mom approaching the party table, carrying the cake with the lit candles, beaming. It’s one of my happiest childhood memories.