Eight things about my Mom

littlebirdblog cleverly turned the “tell me eight things about yourself” meme into a “tell me eight things about your Mom” meme in honor of the day. This seemed a fine idea to me.

Except, of course, that apparently I can’t count. 🙂

1. When Mom was a teenager, she and her best friend used to sneak into Manhattan in short skirts and black tights to play their bongo drums.

2. On one of those trips into the city, she and her friend were also hoping to get parts as extras in a movie. While they were waiting with all of the other would-be extras, Mom struck up a discussion with an elderly black gentleman. Eventually, it got late and Mom had to go home. The gentleman handed Mom a bust of a man’s head he’d sculpted, and he said to her, “I want you to take this with you, because if you do, I know someone will always remember me. Mom took the bust home with her. She still has it, and she still remembers him and tells his story.

3. Mom was 19 when she got married; she was 21 when I was born. This makes me one of the first kids to be raised by a baby boomer, since (unlike most of my friends’ parents, and unlike my Dad) Mom was born just after World War II.

4. When I was 10, or maybe a little younger, Mom helped me write a letter to McDonald’s corporate headquarters. She believed that if you had a problem, you shouldn’t just complain about it; you should find out who has the power to change things and then contact that person. This meant she used the phrase “let me speak to a manager” quite liberally.

5. Mom can start a conversation with anyone, anywhere. People like talking to her, and she likes listening to them; she can walk into a grocery store and walk out knowing the entire story of someone’s life. This doesn’t only apply to adults; when I was growing up, my friends loved talking to my Mom, too. My enemies loved talking to her. Kids who had no desire whatsoever to talk to me loved talking her.

6. One of the best times for me to talk to Mom was in her room, while she was getting dressed and putting on her makeup. Many important conversations were held with me sitting on the edge of her bed, and her in front of her bedroom dresser. A lot of important conversations were held with both of us sitting on the edge of my bed, too.

7. Mom raised us in a house filled with books, and she never forbade us to read anything. She figured we’d only seek out the books she forbade us to read anyway. I was a lawful sort of kid and probably would have listened if she’d told us not to read something, actually, but I wasn’t about to tell her so.

8. Mom left school to get married, but went back when I was in junior high. She earned her associates degree in nursing around the same time I started high school. She earned her bachelor’s degree a year or two after I earned mine. She’s thinking about going back for her master’s degree soon. She’s fond of saying that maybe one day she’ll figure out what she wants to be when she grows up.

9. For her bachelor’s degree project, Mom unionized the hospital she works at. Several years later, she became a full-time union organizer. She’s now president of her union’s local, and negotiates contracts and addresses grievances for a living.

10. Mom used to tell me to put on some more makeup and unbutton my shirt a few more buttons before heading out the door. I rarely listened, though.

11. She also told me that I could be anything I wanted to be, and that it didn’t matter if I failed so long as I tried my best. This, I listened to. I still believe both those things, and she’s a huge part of the reason why.

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