Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Mom

There are lots of moms out there, of lots of different types. There are moms who can cook anything, and my mom can do that, though by the time I could appreciate an excellent meal without flopping down at the kitchen table and saying "EW!" my father had taken over much of the cooking so my mom could get her business degree.

There are moms who are smart, and my mom has always been one of those. Shockingly so. She has the ability to think critically, analyze situations, and make plans of action like nobody else I've met. I used to help her study for classes by drilling her with her own notecards as we drove around town, and as a result my understanding of economics was quite well established by the time I hit college. And that's not the only thing my mom taught me. She is singlehandedly responsible for my knowledge of algebra (though that was more of an endurance/persistence/patience effort than intelligence on her part), and actually got me liking math. I mean to the point that I would do it in my spare time, and wound up actually enjoying multivariable calculus at 16. Enjoying it. And I'll lay that squarely on my mother's shoulders.

My mom was ahead of her time in mothering skills. She practiced attachment parenting before it was cool, and fostered our intellectual growth at home both before we entered formal schooling and after. She read my brother and me books and helped us participate in sports and learn musical instruments. She put us to work around the house and showed us how to clean, cook, gather kindling, prepare firewood, and start fires (in a totally safe, non-arson type way). She took us outdoors and showed us birds and animals and crazy awesome dangerous nature things. She taught us to stand up for ourselves and others, and to keep values that were difficult or unpopular growing up.

You'd think a mom with outdoors skills and brains and patience wouldn't be one a girly-girl either, but my mom was. She taught me about makeup and skincare and proper nail painting techniques. We still sometimes get to shop together for clothes or makeup.

And that's the part of my mom I discovered as an adult. She is a fantastic friend. We watch reality TV together, shop together, eat together. We discuss books and news. She is always, always there to help me when I need it. She is interesting and thoughtful, so we never run out of things to talk about. She is a good advice giver, but knows when not to advise. She is generous with everything she has.

Her mother could have named her Prudence or Hope or Charity or any of those other somewhat terrible "value" names, but instead she named her Rose. Roses are beautiful and strong, with thorns to protect themselves and solid roots to grow tall. They climb toward light, and bloom so fantastically that no other flower quite compares. Of all of the good things my grandmother could have called my mom, I think she picked the most fitting name, because my mom truly is a Rose.

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