Renaissance Woman, Part 2

5 11 2008

Mom, I’m sorry if get these details wrong, but I have a zillion memories and had to tack them down somewhere.

My mom is a pretty awesome, I’m not going to lie. She is courageous, strong, intelligent and talented. She’s also a saint. About 35 thousand times along my lifeline, I’ve managed to be a major, major FAIL in life, school, money, work, my basic existence. And I know that disappoints my mom. She doesn’t even have to tell me. I just know. She’s that voice of conscience on my shoulder that I more often than not have listened to my entire life. All I can say is that I keep trying. I keep improving, and one day I’ll get most of it right.

My mom was born in Glasgow, Scotland. When she was in her early 20’s, she did something I can’t even imagine doing. Ever. Even now, when I’m old. But not only did she leave her parents’ home. But she left her home town and EVERY SINGLE THING familiar to her… She left the entire country of Scotland… And moved to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Personally, I can’t even imagine leaving where I live to go so far away. But she did it, and she was successful.

She lived with her cousin in a small apartment and had a job at an insurance agency. It was there that she met my father. I’m sure they were both beautiful people then as they are now, so of course they found one another. But there was a problem… My dad was slightly older and didn’t want to get married. My mom, she won him over. 🙂 She and my father were married and soon after transferred to New Jersey. Welcome to America!! They have been married now for 34 years. How many people know a married couple that has been married that long? Not many. And they are totally adorable and retired in Florida.

Anyway, New Jersey was not nice to my parents at first. Their apartment was broken into through the ceiling. But they stuck through it and eventually they and my eldest brother set up house there. And that’s where I was born. And I think they were there for approximately 4 months afterward. By December 1975, my parents had moved to Pittsburgh.

Among the amazing things my mother gave me are: more class in my left pinkie finger than half the people I know; a love of books so bad it’s crazy; the ability to cook; the ability to sew; a love of ABBA, Anne Murray (yes, shut up), the Beatles, Kenny Rodgers (via an uncle) and my clarinet (thank you, mom); and the experience of Scotland as a child, which will never, ever leave my brain.

But I still have my random, wacky memories kick in. And no, mom, this is not based on pictures. It’s all locked in my brain. Anyway, I’m only doing early childhood here, because what I remember might give her a heart attack…

I remember:

  • the neighbor’s dog, Heidi, or rather, many multiple Heidi’s in my life, including our own 😦
  • my baby doll Julie
  • the neighbors we knew and were friends with. can’t include names here, but mom will get it, i think.
  • my clown halloween costume
  • 45 kagillion trips to see Santa over the years… and LP crying her face off because she was terrified. Every. Single. Time.
  • Nana and Granda coming to visit, many times, but especially right before my sister was born
  • attempting and failing at gymnastics & tap classes. major fail
  • Wonder Woman Underoos. and a sprinkler
  • my very own personal sledding track, built my dad
  • the turtle dad and rescued from 910 a very, very long time ago
  • when said turtle escaped into dad’s psychotic cucumber plants that kept trying to take over the yard
  • the front stoop when M & dad fought and M drove away. you are amazed I remember this so clearly which is why I only briefly mention it here.
  • asking for and then getting a little sister
  • so many,  many trips to Scotland that I wish I could still take every summer
  • being stuck in the airport (Prestwick, I think) for hours because the plane we were to catch had birds fly into the engine
  • in shiny satin jackets with Julie in Scotland
  • buying new shoes for each trip to Scotland
  • begging you to cut off all my hair somewhere around 2nd grade and dad being shocked
  • trying and majorly failing at Tball
  • Cabbage Patch Kids… every single Christmas. Apparently my mom has some rugby in her, because she brought home the goods every, single year!
  • a super awesome Sylvester the Cat halloween costume
  • many trips to Northway Mall – the birds, Orange Julius… North Hills Village when it had a department store
  • a zillion trips to Canada – including travelling all over for the malls you love –  wait, remember the snow storm that stranded us in Erie? I do!!
  • Marks N Spencer – what I’d do for a potato scone right now
  • Square, yes square, sausage
  • Fish n chips, even if I don’t that stuff anymore
  • My favorite comfort things: tea. my mom’s tea, specifically. With milk & sugar. And of course, Malteasers. Please send a case of them if you can find them. I have withdrawal…. Several cases. Maybe 1000??

Whether she realizes it or not, my sister and I consider her amazing. And adorable. And fantabulous. And I have no idea if she realizes that I’m just a bent, broken and recycled copy of her. I just can’t make the ends of the things I attempt meet sometimes. I try, I try really hard. This blog is part of it.

I think she is the majority of why (a small part to my dad) I’m able to be called the “den mother” for The Organization. I care. I really, really do. And so does my mom. Every person I befriend becomes someone I care about, for at least the time that I know them.

My mom is an amazing person. I’m not sure she realizes it just yet. But she is. She rocks. She is a great mom. She is a worrier, but we love her for it. But Ma, never, ever, listen to what anyone says to you. You know it…  Dad, my sister and myself, are all you should listen to should it come down to it. It’s all garbage, otherwise!!! Garbage, I tell you!!! We know you. We love you. And we know you are right. Not because you are that lady who is always right, but because you’re right because you know it’s the right thing.

And lastly, oh so very lastly, I remember and thank you for the love you developed for Echo. I appreciate that you didn’t want her at first, and you protested dad taking her in. But she just dug into your heart. It was just her way, she was that girl! I thank you for caring for her, talking to her and trying to make her your own. For putting up with her (I can never thank you enough.) But mostly, for telling me what was going on in her last months and weeks. For not being angry, but for being so concerned for her. And for being so hesitant to do what I asked… because you didn’t want to give up on her. I love you for that. And especially for accepting what Dad did when he made his decision. I’m not at work right now, mom, but I’m still trying to not cry as I write this. I hope you understand.

A great mom. A great, great mom. I love you and I swear I am working on it.

Love,
Cl.

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