Thursday, April 11, 2013

"J" is for Mom ...

The letter "J" is the first letter of my mother's name. Although she goes by "Jacky," her full name is Jacqueline Eileen. I've always thought it the most beautiful, sensuous and mysterious name - there was Jacqueline Kennedy, Jacqueline Bisset, and Mom. With her thick, black, curly hair, her deep brown eyes and statuesque figure, she has been and will always be all that I find elegant in my mind.

I'm fortunate that my mother is alive and well, with a busier social calendar than me at age 76. I am fortunate that I can count her one of my dearest friends, a stalwart supporter and a source of not only wisdom, but clear and honest feedback. She's never minced words, parsed phrases or held back on any question I asked her. But she's also never, ever, in my entire life said "I told you so."

I left Mom for many years, wandering the globe while serving in the U.S. Navy and then after, while trying to find my way in the civilian workforce. From 1984 until December of 2005, I was never home for more than a week or two. I missed her. I missed her a lot. I wasn't there for her when she needed me, though she was always there when I needed her.

When my husband was killed in a car accident, she was there.

When I didn't have money for rent, she was there.

When I finally went back to college and earned my B.S., she was there.

And she never made me feel guilty for not being there for her. When my father died. When her father died. And her mother. She never once asked when I was coming home to help her. She never once asked when I was going to be there for her to lean on. She never once said "I told you so." 

It took me many years, a few failed attempts at marriage and a helluva lot of late night phone calls for me to realize what an amazing woman she is. How strong and smart she is. How vital and witty and friendly and talented she is.

My Mom's an artist. She paints and she sculpts. She does pottery and needlework. She makes the most amazing Lemon Meringue Pie you ever ate in your life. Not too sweet, not too tart, meringue peaks perfectly golden and curled on the top like a made for TV soft-serve cone. She gave up smoking without a look back, drank one of my boyfriends under the table once while proudly telling him she was the daughter of a Boiler-maker and that was all she knew how to drink. She'll roundly whip your ass at cards, help you with your colicky newborn and drove an eighteen-wheeler for years with Dad.

I got the chance to spend a week in London with her three years ago. She'd already been traveling for three weeks. She was already tired and foot sore. She didn't care. We walked our feet off, got lost, got found, spent a whole day off our "plan" in the Victoria & Albert Museum, ate horrible Chinese food and wonderful Fish and Chips, drank a different beer every night and my only regret of the trip is that we couldn't stay longer. She was game for anything I wanted to see, do, eat, watch.

She's backed every stupid, lame-brained, crazy-assed idea I ever had; welcomed every boyfriend, husband, lover I brought home and still refuses to say "I told you so." She loves to read what I write, reminds me to use a napkin and keep my elbows off the table and doesn't mind (much) when I curse.

Though one time she did say "Barbara, really?"

Me and Mom!
She's my Mom. She's amazing. And I'm so glad I finally moved back to CA to be with her. Just, not too close.

I love you, Mom!


  1. She is absolutely amazing! And I'm lucky to have her in my life. Thanks!