I miss my mom. She’s been gone for three years this week and I still occasionally pick up the phone to call her. Ouch. I want to ask her how she kept all the chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom of her picnic cake recipe. I should have made it when she was alive but she always did. Sometimes I just want to tell her about my day, get her advice, or tell her something funny that one of the kids did. But then, she probably already knows.
There is only ONE good thing about my mom being dead. When someone (especially a salesperson) calls and asks, “Is your mom there?” I can reply, “No, she’s dead.” For some reason, I get a kick out of this. (I like to think my mom does too.) I tried this on my sister-in-law once and she did not think it was funny. Before you go thinking I am a total schmutz, you should know that I probably get this irreverent, playful attribute from my mother.
When we moved to a new neighborhood with our three legged dog, someone asked, “What’s wrong with your dog’s front leg?” My mom looked at the dog, looked at the person and said, “What leg?”
Mom was known to start water fights not only outside, but inside. Wild, wet, crazy fun. (Side note: if any of my children are reading, do not try this at home. I will not think it is funny, really.) I remember frantically trying to get inches of water off the kitchen floor before my dad got home.
One day my brother and his friends were working in the yard. They found a huge earthworm and decided to go scare my mom with it. When they dangled it in front of her face, she grabbed it and started chasing them with it.
Mom had a theory that you could balance an egg on end during the Winter or Summer Solstice. My brother sat at the kitchen table trying to disprove her theory. As he rolled the egg between the table top and the palm of his hand, my mom got tired of his know-it-all behavior, smacked the top of his hand which crushed the egg.
In grade school, mom cried and cried one day on the steps of her school. She wouldn’t go inside. When her mother arrived at the school to sort through the problem, she was told by my sweet mother that she was crying because God made her a little girl and not a horse.
I never got the rest of the story—what my grandmother did. That is another thing I would ask my mom.
If my mom was a horse, she would be the kind that was all playful, and kind. She would give you sweet rides on her back and then when you were least expecting it, she would kick up her heels and you would slide down her neck into the soft grass. (Yes, she would make sure you landed on something soft.) You would look up at her like, “What was that for?”
She would bat her big horse eyelashes with a look of “Who me?” That’s the kind of horse my mom would be.
When she lost all her hair to cancer, she had a very stylish wig. It was great hair. She never had a bad hair day—all she had to do was put it on. No fuss. No problem. When complimented on her great hair (by people who did not know it was a wig), she would lift it straight off her head and say, “Thanks, do you want to borrow it.”
My mom thought of a great invention before she left. If you’ve ever had to buy a coffin, you know how crazy expensive they are. And for what when you think about it. It’s not like you try it out before you go to see if it’s comfortable. It’s not like people will be looking at it for years to come.
You lay in it at the viewing while people say you look great or peaceful when what you really look is dead.
But on the other hand, if you buried your loved one in a cardboard box, people would think you were pond scum. So, here’s the beauty of the invention. You buy (and use for several family members) or rent a coffin. At the cemetery the coffin is reverently lowered into the ground while someone is playing Amazing Grace on the bagpipes. Then when everybody leaves, somebody pushes a button on a remote control device which opens the trap door on the bottom of the coffin. The body falls out, and the coffin is pulled back up and reused.
My mom. A thrifty, funny lady. I miss her.