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May 8, 2009

I’m glad I live next door to my mother. Of course there is eye-rolling, and occasional moments of exasperation or misunderstanding. But most of the time it’s a lot of talking, laughing, sharing, commiserating.  She values her privacy and her space; she isn’t nosy or overbearing; for no good reason, she warns me not to take her advice, which is generally excellent. Last week she taught me how to kill wasps with  a spray-bottle of soap and water (It works.). Years ago, she accurately forecasted that I’d eventually regret wearing heeled jelly sandals (I do indeed.).

We’ve never much celebrated Mother’s Day, save for the marigolds we grew at school to bring home as a surprise in elementary school, or the “gifts”  made from paper plates, construction paper, macaroni and glitter. But of course I have a lot to thank her for. Biology aside, she’s a source of good lessons, examples, practices, critiques, taste.  She’s honest and funny and generous. She’s responsible for my formative first encounters with spinach salad (Southern-style, warm, with plenty of bacon), sour cream cheesecake, moo goo gai pan, avocados, potato-leek soup, the circus, the dentist’s office, Taco Bell. Aside from my father, she’s the most practical and tradition-bucking person I know – but she still picks pretty dresses and shoes, raised us to wear colors in season and dresses in church, reminds us to say “yes” rather than “yeah,” and has always warned against all things “tacky” (phone calls too early, too late or during the dinner hour, for example).  She balances family with self, salad with cheesecake, Home with Away, good movies with bad TV, complaint with appreciation, practicality with frivolity. We share a similar taste, a penchant for holding on to things we ought not keep, a tendency toward overreacting. (I should probably be jealous that at least one of my sisters was bestowed more with her gumption and sense of adventure.) I’ve learned and am still learning much from her – about parenting, gardening, where I come from,  how to open a beer or move a large piece of furniture with very limited resources.

So, because what my mother really wants this weekend is gardening-friendly weather and plenty of Jack-free time to enjoy it, I’ll be thinking about all of the above on Sunday. (And I might need to revisit it next month, when we move in with her while our house is under construction.)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sister permalink
    May 9, 2009 1:26 pm

    Re: Spinach salad

    Warm? With bacon?? Uf. Do we really eat that?
    Try cold, with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Yum.
    Watch out for the e coli though.

  2. May 10, 2009 6:29 pm

    This is really nice, Leslie. And Happy Mother’s Day to you!

  3. July 22, 2009 12:00 pm

    I followed you here from the comment on Jo@Mylestones blog.
    This was beautifully written, there is such an elegance and depth to your site , I hope you don’t mind if I look around a bit.
    I like to find good writing.

  4. August 26, 2009 5:56 pm

    Lesle, thanks for sharing this favorite of yours. Deb is right–beautifully written.

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