Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Day 03 – Your parents, in great detail

Is anything ever just about one's parents? I could tell stories about my grandparents that would tell you more about my mother than anything I ever wrote about her. I'll take the bait though, and we'll see what I come up with.

I think no relationship is so complex, contradictory or bizarre as a girl's relationship to her mom.

Mom has brown hair, curly and short, and she suffers from terminal self-loathing. No matter where she is or how she's doing, she knows she could improve something. She could exercise more. Make the house prettier. Cook better. Look better. Be better. I think sometimes that keeps her from being just as awesome as she already is. At the same time, I understand through my own experience that it's the same drive that allows her to be brutally honest with herself, to take responsibility for her failings, and to be deeply connected to the people she loves.

Mom has brown eyes, I think. But now that I try to conjure her image in my mind, I can't see her eyes. Maybe they're kind of green? I know that they're striking and clear. She's dark-complected, almost olive-skinned, and I always envied her easy, crispy tans. I go from milk-white to lobster in half the time she turns native brown.

Mama loves me. She taught me to sew, to crochet, and to write. I remember picking vegetables with her as a very little girl. Okra, purple-hull peas, corn and butterbeans. We picked them every year. She taught me not to fear the fat, happy caterpillars we found hiding in the corn husks. She canned spaghetti sauce, cut-off, creamed and froze corn, and for some unholy reason cooked a lot of summer squash. To this day, the smell of summer squash turns my stomach. No amount of butter can render it edible. That stuff is nasty. Word to my mother: NAS. TEE.

I remember baking bread with her. Drinking buttermilk for the first time at her urging. Learning to make perfect southern biscuits (the secret is lard and buttermilk). Once I spilled hot coffee down my 9-year-old chest. I remember the skin peeling up. Mama raced me to Mrs. Janice's house. I don't remember how we treated it, just that Mama let me cry and held me.

I hate this entry. It's boring ME.


  1. It didn't bore me! I thought that this post was sweet. A touching tribute to your mother and the things that she did with you and taught you. How wonderful to have such awesome memories.

  2. I didn't think it was boring!

    I'm envious that you have such fond memories of your mother.

  3. Nope, not boring. I agree with it being sweet.

  4. Aw, you guys are all really sweet. Maybe I'll attempt writing about Daddy soon.

  5. (it's kelly/nancydrewmfa from LJ)

    i'm not so great at remembering/noticing eye color, but my mother had strange eyes, brown with flecks of gold, and i will always remember her eyes. unfortunately, most of my good memories of my mother are much older than my bad, pill-addled, dramatic, unloving memories of her. whatryagonnado? i'm personally going to be a better mom than she was--at least the mom she was AFTER my dad died. so far, so good!

  6. Hi Kelly, Reading your and Traci's posts on LJ about your mom brought me to tears. What a difficult set of memories to try to reconcile, like two different people. You're right; all we can do is try to be better our own selves.

    My mom changed after the divorce; most of the memories in this post are from before that, now that I re-check them. It's ironically been a source of power as a parent that I can remember both versions of her. It gave me a vision for what to do instead of just a determination to *not* do something.