1. She was a registered nurse for nearly 30 years and even though hospital scrubs came into vogue for nurses halfway through her career, she maintained her own high standard and wore her starched, ironed, traditional nurse's whites including the old-fashioned crisp white cap until her retirement.
2. Now that she's retired, she still spends a day a week at the hospital. She's a volunteer.
3. Mom's the only person I know who's willing to put in a day of unpaid labor just to get a free meal from a hospital cafeteria.
4. Mom can flat out SEW. She made me a beautiful wedding gown and veil my first time around and she even appliqued a pair of the sweetest little white satin pumps you've ever seen to go with them. She also lovingly designed and sewed a cotton jersey sleep sacque that all 5 of my sisters' children AND Bean slept in when they were babies. That's 12 years of almost constant wear, and that sacque's still hangin' in there. Builds 'em to last, she does.
5. Heck, I'll bet you she's sewn nearly a thousand little kid garments, pillows, curtains and fashions for herself and friends/family, yet she still thinks she's lousy at it.
6. Every item she's sewn has been HER LAST EVER!!, according to her. I WILL NEVER SEW ANOTHER THING!, I've heard her declare three or four times over the course of each project. Yet she just keeps dragging out that machine, time and time again.
7. And she will be the FIRST to admit that yes, she is a Glutton for Punishment.
8. Al says "her daughter is just like her."
9. Mom walks 3 miles almost every single day. Fast. And Early. If you're going to walk with her, be ready when she's ready or you WILL be left behind. And KEEP UP.
10. Mom loves to garden. She has a THING for a little plant called monkey grass. A lover of all things neat and tidy (cough*OCD*cough), she uses monkey grass as a border in her yard. Around EVERY. THING.
11. When I was six months pregnant with Bean, Mom had me out there planting little plugs of monkey grass along the borders of several paths she'd cleared in the woods behind her house. I think when the project was completed, long after I had given up and gone home, she'd planted well over 200 yards of little monkey grass plugs.
12. One every 3 feet.
13. That's some 400 plugs of monkey grass, people.
14. And 400 holes, dug into the rock-solid red clay of the South Carolina foothills.
15. My mom may have a little bit of a stubborn streak -- are you picking up on that?
16. Mom loves the scent of patchouli. But she's not a pot-smokin' hippie-freak. Ahem. Anymore.
17. However I am proud to report that she once owned a pair of the coolest lace-up, high-heeled blue suede go-go boots EVER.
18. At about that same time, she had LONG, STRAIGHT, all-one-length brown hair. All she needed was the daisy chain headband, man. Peace out, Nana!
19. But then. She cut her hair into a shag. And got these little octagonal gold-framed glasses.
20. She looked like if Billie Jean King and Carol Brady had a baby. She was CAH-YUTE, my friends.
21. Also about that time my sister was going through her David Cassidy phase. She got the shag cut too, and Mom made her this funky plaid zip-up-the-front pantsuit. My sister really DID look quite a bit like David Cassidy in that get up.
22. After that came the Dorothy Hamill craze, and my sister got a Dorothy Hamill hair cut. I was despondent that (yes, I'm coming to the part about Mom, I promise!) I did not also have a Dorothy Hamill hair cut. My mother improvised beautifully and told me that well, I had a Peggy Flemming hair-style. Good one, Mom.
23. Sadly, the blue go-go boots are long gone.
24. Mom is crafty. She once made a beautiful creche scene with Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus out of two Ivory® Liquid bottles, some styrofoam balls, dowels, a bunch of old sewing scraps and a couple cans of gold spray paint. Jesus's hair was made of Brillo®.
25. Yes, I do still think Mom will go to Heaven even though she gave Baby Jesus a steel wool afro.
26. My Mom takes a nap after lunch every single day. Not a long one, only fifteen or twenty minutes.
27. That doesn't mean she won't lie there on the sofa for two solid hours eating peanuts and reading a book though. She's retired and her kids are grown up. She can do that if she feels like it.
28. Mom has a collection of 20 or so paperweights that have never held a single piece of paper down in all their born days. And handbells that don't get rung. Other than that, she's almost a 100% practical person. It's a strange dichotomy.
29. Mom is an organization FREAK. I haven't lived in her home for twenty years, but I can still find anything I want there in the same place it's always been. There is a place for everything and everything is ALWAYS in its place. Or else.
30. Unless it has been sold in a yard sale. Mom would slap a price tag on DAD and stick him out for the yard-salers to rifle through if she thought she could get decent money for him.
31. Mom loves the weirdest foods. Braunschweiger, beets, fried chicken livers. But she thinks sourdough bread tastes weird and won't eat it. HUH?
32. Mom has 6 grandkids (seven now!) and 2 step-grandkids. They all call her Nana, which suits her even better than Mom does, if that's possible. I'll bet you dollars to donuts she never thought her two daughters would produce so many grandbabies.
33. There's darned near nothing my Mom loves more than a good footrub. She used to con me into playing "podiatrist" when I was a kid. Bean and I are SO playing that game when she's old enough!
34. I believe Mom may have the teeny-tiniest hint of a crush on Alton Brown.
35. Favorite Momisms, with contributions from my sister Jackie:
I have told you UMPTEEN times...
DAD-GUMMIT! (You know she's had it up to HERE with something when she yells this one.)
My stars and garters...
Oh Good GRIEF!
or just GOOD GRIEF!
36. According to my sister, in a nutshell, Mom is resilient, long suffering, loyal, and a truthteller.
37. I'll go along with those and add that she's also organized, efficient, inquisitive, independent, trustworthy and smart. (Make a good Boy Scout, she would!)
38. I have it on good authority she thinks her daughters turned out pretty well, too.
39. If I could change one thing about Mom, I'd make her love and appreciate herself half as much as I do.
40. I hear her down there starting to re-organize my basement. Time to go!
Originally posted August 2007.