Tim August 10th, 2018

After discovering how superficial and boring many Mother’s Day cards were several years ago, I put together a rather random list of things I valued about Mom. They were rather random thoughts on who she was and why she was so different form any other mother I’ve known. 1. No one else would accept the excuses I’ve made up over the years for me being me but my mother. She told me that she knew when I was lying. Case in point: When we lived in Andover, I said the handlebar broke off on my bike, causing the fall that gave me 12 stitches in my arm. Years later, she said she knew the handlebar was broken off before I started my bike ride that day. 2. Who else would keep trying to fix someone who can’t fix himself? Add up the money my parents have given me over the years, and they could have retired 10 years earlier with a villa in Sweden. 3. Trying desperately to stay on the level in my conversation with Mom and Dad one night, I found myself quickly breaking down. I completely lost it when I said, “I miss you so much,” to my mother. I hadn’t spoken by telephone to either of my parents for more than three months, something I will never do again. 4. After speaking with a student one day about how she takes in stray animals and stray humans, cares for sick people and people who can’t help themselves, and gives away money because, “It’s only green paper,” I realized that my mother was standing before me. I had to resist the urge to embrace her. 5. My mom has a smile that could launch a thousand ships, if Helen of Troy hadn’t done so millenniums ago. 6. I say I get my sensitivity from my mother, but she doesn’t seem to cry as often as I do. That must be where we differ: I lack the strength not to cry because I’ve never had to hold a family together. 7. She has five children—three boys and two adopted girls—and were not even Catholic. She stayed at home with us while my father worked when we were growing up, which makes her even more of a rarity and twice as insane. 8. I could tell when Mom wasn’t listening to me or she was too tired to talk on the phone because she would agree with everything I’d say. “And then I’m going to burn down my house and rob a liquor store at gunpoint.” “Um hmm,” she’d say. Most of the time, I didn’t have much to tell her that she didn’t already know or hadn’t heard from me, so I didn’t blame her for tuning me out. 9. I don’t want to marry someone like my mother. That would be too weird, and it’s too much of a job for any woman, anyway. 10. Just when I didn’t think my mom understood me when I came to her with life’s problems, she would say, “I know, Tim. It’s okay because I love you,” proving that she knew more than enough. 11. I’m not a momma’s boy. My mother was just a really, really great person. Ask anyone who had met her; they’re all momma’s kids, too. I love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day forever. Tim