My mother likes to tell this one story about me, age 4, and I can see it clear as day. Where I was standing and exactly what happened. Perhaps I don’t actually remember it so much as she has told it so many times that it’s burned in my brain and so it’s a bit like a movie to me.
It goes like this:
My mother was fixing the toilet. Not just plunging, but crawling behind the toilet turning off the water and using a wrench. She turns to me and says “Stephie, come here I want to show you how to do this so when you’re older you’ll know.”
And I said “Mommy, don’t be silly. I will have a husband. That’s what they’re for!”
Okay, first of all I’d like to reach back through time and smack lil Stephie ten ways till Sunday, cause hello? Nice sensitivity little one. My father had only been dead about 1.5-2 years at that point and I am quite sure the wound of not having him around was still very raw for her. And second…it doesn’t matter if you do indeed have a husband. Ten times outta twenty momma is fixing that potty, am I right?
The point is that even with my resistance to self reliance and an incredible princess complex, my bad ass do it yourself mom taught me to be a bad ass do it yourself mom.
Need shelves hung? I can do it. Move a couch? Why wait till they guys get home, I will drag that bad boy into the next room for ya! Not to mention painting, spackling and yes…yes, turning off the water and fixing the damn toilet. And all of that is due to my mom,who solo parented a kid who – let’s be honest- was not exactly and easy one. Oh, I was great until I turned 13 and then I became evil devil spawn drama teen with a heavy dose of Daddy Issues. A lesser woman would have folded when I totalled the car less than 24 hours after getting my driver’s license. I won’t even pretend that lovely comment while my mother was acting like a plumber was the only insensitive thing I ever said to her. Most were unintentional, but there were some doozies that I spouted off on purpose that to this day make me cringe.
Or how about the time she hocked her wedding ring to buy my cheerleading uniform and then I got kicked off the squad? Well, actually it’s even worse…I just got suspended but I was so pissed offt hat they dared to suspend me that I just never went back. (FTR I later replaced the ring with a really beautiful gold and peridot ring, her birthstone, but still…really young Stephie?REALLY???)
Because of my mom I can do all these things…oh yes, I do have a husband and yes he does help. TOTT is great. But I am my mother’s daughter and the menfolk, they drag their heels sometimes, non? Or he is off at that pesky work thing he does and I am – how to say- IMPATIENT! so sometimes I just gotta do what I gotta do.
She taught me how to be self sufficient and one of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn it to let TOTT in, to be my team mate. Because my mother was a team of one. And so was I. She and I against the world and all that!
She taught me how to mix Target with Neiman’s…before Target was cool. We didn’t have much money but I always looked like we did. Our house always did. She influenced me to spend money on the basics and bargain shop the trends. She encouraged me to have my own style.How she managed to let me go to school with long beaded ribbons pinned in my bowl cut hair and a dress with a pinafore over it and go go boots I’ll never know. 2nd grade was a Gaga fashion show for sure!
She also taught me unconditional love. She loved me wholly and completely even when I resembled a demon in a teenage body.
To me she is the best mom in the land. Happy Mother’s day Mumsy! I think I’ll use some power tools and then redecorate something.
I LOVE YOU MOM!!!!
p.s. I forgive you for blaming things the dogs did on me and for sometimes calling me Nym/Shelley/Barney/Pepper/STEPHIE!! and you forgive me for being evil and selfish? Okay? OKAY??