Friday, May 06, 2005

a little something for my mom

I’ve spent a lot of time at my parents’ house over the last several months. I stay with them every time I drive to San Diego to visit Jon for the weekend since they live about 2 miles away from him.

Or they used to, at least. Seeing that Jon presently lives out of his truck, it’s hard to say the exact mileage that currently separates their dwelling places but this a topic for another time.

I absolutely love my parents. I always have. But over the last several years, I’ve grown to feel an additional sentiment towards them. Seems the older I get, the more I realize how much I LIKE them. And perhaps more specifically, how much I want to BE like them.

One day I will take the time to tell you all about my dad who, in my opinion, has the world’s most tender heart and can intelligibly converse about any conceivable topic on earth with the utmost humility and grace. Except maybe for the correct lyrics to the Stevie Nicks classic “Landslide” which he thought was about Boulder, Colorado up until quite recently…the result of a wee mix up with the “times make you bolder” line. And to this remark he would undoubtedly say, “Well, I may not know the lyrics, but what about the WORDS?” because in addition to being incredibly tender-hearted and intelligent, his third most notable characteristic is definitely his corny sense of humor and high tolerance for the tireless repetition of jokes that got old circa 1972. And that weren’t even funny back then. (Sorry, Dad.)

But today, I want to say a few things about my mom.

Now that I’m two months shy of becoming a wife, I find myself looking at her with new eyes. When I spend the weekend with them now, I am fixated by the seemingly effortless grace with which she keeps their house, and subsequently their lives, in order. I know it really is NOT effortless for her and that she works very hard, but her mastery of wife-y-ness makes the daunting, monotonous list of tasks look simple to eager and naïve wanna-bes like me.

I love to examine the contents of my mother’s refrigerator. While strange unknown moldy substances crawl to the back of mine to die, hers hasn’t seen an ounce a food go bad in its hallowed halls since, well, ever. She knows the right amount of fresh produce to buy so that they can consume all of it before it goes bad and dreams up creative things to make with the assortment of groceries she last purchased so that none go to waste. And don’t get me started on her freezer. Sweet Moses! It’s a vision of labeling and organization and she can make every ingredient stored in its dark cavernous recesses come back to life with her cooking. Her yummy, yummy cooking.

I love to marvel over her linen closet. She knows the perfect way to fold every last sheet and towel and tablecloth so that they all fit perfectly into the allotted space. None are squished or askew. All are easily accessible and smell fresh.

I love to look through her cookbooks. Recipes she’s tried are marked up with comments on the outcome, ideas for ways to make it even better the next time, things she substituted or added, and sometimes the name of the person in our family who especially liked it. She can find a brand new delicious recipe seemingly out of thin air and make it for the first time for a big holiday dinner and it always comes out amazing. Like she’s been practicing it and perfecting it her whole life.

I love that she cleans her kitchen sink every night after the dishes have been done (which, by the way, my dad often does himself…let me not mislead you with all this praise of my mother to think he doesn’t pitch in around the house.) I used to HATE that she would make us do this EVERY night and thought it was so unnecessary…can’t you just clean it every couple of days? I would roll my eyes when she would say, “Girls, if you just do a little at a time to keep up on things, then you don’t have to BUST on them later.” I would snicker. “Bust” on them. What does that even mean? Yeah, well that’s why my kitchen sink always looks the way it does. I don’t clean it every night. I don’t even clean it every couple of days. I tolerate it as long as possible and then sure enough, I have to BUST on it, just like Mom said.

I love my mother’s pantry and how it’s always fully stocked. She can whip up any tomato sauce, chicken broth, or cream of mushroom soup-based dinner at the drop of a hat, and in large enough quantity to feed the local high school football team.

I love to watch her ironing technique, her methodical motions that make the most of each stroke. And I love that she irons often and dutifully even though it is her MOST DESPISED CHORE so that my dad has wrinkle-free clothes to wear to work.

I love that she knows the perfect comfort food to bring to a family with a brand new baby, the names of plants and the right way to care for them, how to pick a good melon, the way to get out any stain, the correct spelling of words like subpoena and hors d’oeuvres, the difference in cuts of meat and the right ones to select for pot roast or grilling or never eating at all because they’re way too fatty and not good for Dad’s heart.

I want to know…WHEN do you get all this wife-y knowledge? Logic tells me you must learn it along the way – by trial and error – but my gut says that wives and mothers as good as my mom JUST KNOW. They are born knowing. They have God-given instinct. They are intrinsically wired for domestic greatness. They don’t join the club, they ARE the club.

Well whatever or however, I want in.

I want to KNOW like my mom does. I want to be around her and soak it up. I want to watch her and learn. I want to be a fraction of how great she is, how loving, how selfless, how clever, how organized, how efficient.

I want to grow up enough to be able to lovingly serve my husband and family the way that she does: WILLINGLY. Even when she can’t bear to unload the dishwasher ONE MORE TIME. Even when she doesn’t get home from work until after 7pm and she still has to make dinner. Even when she would sooner prefer to drop the hot iron on her foot than use it to press one more dress shirt. Even when she just doesn’t have the energy.

Even when there is nothing in it for her.

You might think it's pretty grown up of me to finally recognize and appreciate all of her efforts and the sacrifices she’s made, but no. I’ll be truly grown up when I’m able to make them myself.

God help me. I'm a long way off.

So Mom, with Mother’s Day around the corner and all of this on my heart, this is what I want you to know:

I want to be just like you. The measure of success in my life will be how closely I can model your example.

I am praying for a miracle of mother-daughter Wife Osmosis.

Posted by Poka Bean at 9:46 AM


  1. Blogger Albert L Berriz posted at 11:22 AM  
    Cool bloggin'

    Check out free cognition, you'll enjoy it.
  2. Blogger Carolyn posted at 8:56 AM  
    Poka, I love this. Your mom sounds amazing! I'm a wife, and I don't know how she does it either! :) You're very lucky to have such a great role model. I firmly believe that you will be an amazing wife yourself.

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