An Ode to Mothers

Channeling Jeanie: An Ode to Moms

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Growing up it’s hard to fathom that there’s a good possibility your mother may someday be your best friend. You hate her this week because she won’t let you go to the movies with your high school sweetheart (never actually a problem for me, as I didn’t date in high school—but theoretically), next week because she enforces a 10pm curfew. (Though let it be said, I was quite anti-social in high school, and my mom was so worried about this she a) made me join a high school sorority/hazing society and b) would make my punishments for back-talking to go out with my friends on a Friday night. I’ve since more than made up for that. Obviously.) And yet she does become your closest confidante sometime between the ages of 18 and maturity, and before you know it you’re calling her up five times a day: “what’s the recipe for your world-famous spaghetti?” “what should I get SVV for his birthday?” “did I tell you I just got another book deal?” “I completely forgot to ask about the grandparents,” and “oh yeah, just wanted to tell you I love you.”On any given day, there are no fewer than 10 texts from Jeanie in my inbox—she’s quite savvy and was on that whole text train, T9 and all, years ago before all the kids were doing it. She also has a Wii and is a (video game) boxing goddess—how many of you can say that about your mothers? When I was a child, she was the most popular mom on the block: She owned Zelda before the rest of the little boys in our neighborhood could get their grimy jam hands on it; thus, they would come over every day and watch her save the princess over and over again. And I bet you your bottom dollar your mom didn’t date Jimmy Buffett and hang out with the Eagles, now did she?

Jeanie was always the cool mom, but she knew when to draw the line (i.e. she was lax enough that the kids loved her, but wasn’t one of these parents who allowed her daughter’s friends to smoke and drink just because she was that cool; though she did buy me and Diana WINE COOLERS in Florida when we were 18 and 16, respectively, and I swore I would never let that leak, but don’t worry, Jeanie, the Blog won’t tell). Plus, she drives a snazzy little convertible, so we can forgive the fact that she’ll never shop anywhere other than Chico’s and on more than one occasion has been spotted around town donning her Canadian Tuxedo. That’s not to say I was always her biggest fan: At age 15, I believe, we got into a tiff, which resulted in me pushing her into the closet, which resulted in her shoving me back into the door, which then led to me painting the entire front porch and back deck for my entire summer break. With a toothbrush. I may not have gotten in trouble that often—that was more Kari’s forte—but when I did, it was brutal.

If you’re anything like Jeanie and me, you fought with your own mother from that golden age of 13 until you moved out of the house because you were so much alike. Jeanie and I don’t so much resemble each other—she maintains that I was fortunate to get her feet, not the finger-like toes that escape from my dad’s feet like an octopus’ tentacles, but “luckily your father’s dainty hands, not my ugly, fat ones” (for the record, I think her hands are quite nice). I also got her bedonka-donk—her rear end, if you will—or so she tells me. She claims it’s a blessing—“not flat and wide, like your father’s, but a nice shape without being too big.” But other than that, my mom is barely 5’1″ with hazel eyes and unruly dark brown hair. I’m 5’6″, still maintain much of my original blonde, albeit much darker (vouched by my hairdresser, I promise), have blue eyes and a much different build. If you put the two of us in a line-up, I’d bet 50 bucks you wouldn’t know we were related.

But funny how history repeats itself, in this case I shadowed my own mother’s young adulthood. Following her graduation from Vanderbilt at 20, she hopped around the country hitting up 20-something states with two guys from her graduate school. She then moved to Europe for a couple years, crashing at her brother’s pad in Germany (and dating his roommate, oops!), bumming around, taking odd jobs here and there (she was a computer consultant during the birth of the computer, so her skills were always in demand). I don’t think I need to tell you again about my days of moving 14 times in 7 years, or living in Scotland, Holland and Denmark. Many of my trips while living in Europe, mirrored hers without my knowing it until much later. Upon flipping through old, yellowing photo albums while I was home a couple weeks ago, I even discovered that we had several pictures captured in identical spots. The only differences were in clothing and hairstyle (I so wish I lived in the 70’s).

Upon moving back to the States, Jeanie had a choice between an awesome job in Atlanta where she could live like a queen and BUY A CONDO at just 23 or live like a pauper in NYC. She chose to live like a queen; I opted to be a pauper. After meeting my father and marrying him in her 20s, she moved to San Francisco. Here I am.

So, since you won’t answer my 37 calls, happy your day, Mom, from your shadow (and biggest fan!). I hope you were pampered, even though your favorite daughter (me) wasn’t there to do you the honors. And I hope you enjoy the box of electronics that will arrive in the mail for you tomorrow (I’m such a bad secret-keeper! At least I didn’t tell you that it contains two seasons of a highly-acclaimed TV series on NBC and a super-fun Wii game).

And to all the other moms and grandmoms out there, I hope your day was fab! In honor of Jean Watts Housholder Luna, here’s a little photo montage of my mom through the years:

California State Line!
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Florence, Italy
Eiffel Tower, duh: Paris, France
Skiing in Austria
Wedding Day: Tullahoma, Tennessee
Sausalito, California
  • May 12, 2008

    Beautiful post. However, “Budapest, Hungary” is actually “Florence, Italy.” I have a lovely picture of my mother and I in the exact same spot.
    Keep up the wonderful writing!

  • May 12, 2008
    Camels & Chocolate

    Oh my gosh, you’re right! I couldn’t tell on that one, so I staged a guess –thanks for that!

  • May 12, 2008
    Camels & Chocolate

    Oh my gosh, you’re right! I couldn’t tell on that one, so I staged a guess –thanks for that!

  • May 12, 2008
    Camels & Chocolate

    Oh my gosh, you’re right! I couldn’t tell on that one, so I staged a guess –thanks for that!

  • May 12, 2008

    oh swankers, what a gal you are. remember when i always wanted to grow up and move to tullahoma and go to Motlow? that would have been interesting…

  • May 12, 2008

    This has to be one of my favorite posts of yours ever. But are you SURE you don’t look like her, minus the hair? Because in that first photo of her I knew instantly who she was… (could’ve been the fact that there was a picture of a mom and baby on your site on mother’s day, but it is the day after so I wasn’t necessarily thinking of that : ) .

  • May 12, 2008

    what a fab post. I bet your mama loved it! How’s life in SF? Did you ever get my answer about the camera? I can never decide where to reply to a comment — in my blog or yours!!

  • May 13, 2008

    omg! love it. altogether now: “awwwww……”

  • May 13, 2008

    i LOVE this post.
    i wish i had such a good relationship with my mom. for me…my sister has become my best friend in my adult life 🙂

  • May 14, 2008

    Lovely, made my eyes go all teary and stuff.

    You look exactly like your mom (on the picture at the Grand Canyon!!!), just different hair. She must be a great person. I couldn’t be home on M’s Day, but at least I talked to her twice on that day…

    I think for me in adult life, I would say my boyfriend is my best friend (should better be so after 9 years!) and my little brother.

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