Thought I would use Mother’s Day and my random Blog to talk about my Mom. Was she the best-Mom-ever? I’ve always thought she was, but to truly figure it out, we would need a panel discussion, surveys, data analysis, and an independent review board, ideally made-up of individuals who never had mothers of their own so no cultural or socioeconomic bias comes into play. I think there would have to be 50 or more criteria ranging from cooking skills, discipline tactics, and final results (what their children become when they grow up) and it would take years and years to truly figure out World’s-Best-Mom and …
I’ll bottom line it. My Mom was really good. I think she would rank high if such a study was ever done. And I think determining Best-Mom-Ever would have to be like the ACT or SAT, where someone might excel in Math and Science and that helps that someone with other topics they struggle with, like Reading Comprehension or Verbal stuff.
However, I’d like to share four things that, I believe, would’ve gotten my Mom into the 95th percentile or higher and she would’ve qualified for all sorts of scholarships and financial aid and …oh …lost my train of thought.
Here are four things that made Mary Lou (that’s my Mom’s name for new readers) exceptional…
BED MAKING – Growing up, my favorite day of the week was the day the beds were stripped, washed, and made fresh. Our beds, on those nights, were a work of art. Mom actually provided turn-down service and folded the bedding back – it was only missing a mint on the pillow. Sheet, blanket, and comforter would all be folded back together, perfectly square, and Mom never made a bed without the sheets even on both sides of the bed, and hospital corners. To this day, I never start my day without making my bed perfectly because, in my mind, a well-made bed gives a solid foundation and start to any day, and then how nice to be greeted at night by a bed worthy of the world’s finest hotels? A bedroom should feel like a retreat or a place to get away, and it all starts with a made bed.
FOLDING LAUNDRY – My Mom was in the top 1% of all laundry folders on the planet. Yes. There exists a one, true, best way to fold towels and t-shirts, and my Mom knew the technique. For towels, well, all laundry, it should be folded while still-warm and fresh outta the dryer. This will keep everything as close to wrinkle-free as possible. For a towel, you must whip-it really strong two or three times. Then, fold it in half the long way. Whip-it again. Grab the corners, fold it in half the opposite way. Whip again. Then fold in half one more time and you’ll have a square. For t-shirts, whip-it 2 or 3 times while holding onto the corners of the shoulders. Fold it so the shoulders meet and the shirt looks like a hatchet shape. Fold the sleeve to meet the shoulders. Now fold the neck and shoulders to meet the bottom of the shirt. It should be a square shape and it will look perfect when you unfold it and wear it some time down the road. This is it. The only and proper way to fold towels and shirts. I shot this video so you can know, too.
ALWAYS SAY ‘YES’ TO AN INVITATION – People loved my Mom at a party. She was “the life of the party” wherever she went. No, she wasn’t leading the congo line, wasn’t drunk and crazy, but she was there. She showed up. She danced (if there was dancing), she talked to everyone, and I don’t remember her ever coming home from a wedding reception, birthday party, work party …anything, really …without saying she had a “wonderful time.” But her rule was this …if someone thinks enough of you to invite you to a party, you should go. She said, “they don’t invite you because they feel like they should or feel obligated. But they most likely invite you because they like you, like being around you, and they know their party will be more fun if you’re there.” It didn’t make alotta sense to me when I was a teenager and in my 20s, but as I get older, I now know what she was talking about. Sometimes I’ve been invited to something and I might’ve thought, “crap, that was the weekend I was going to wash my deck,” or, “who gets married Labor Day weekend!?!?! Dang it. I like to go Up North and fish and drink beer around the campfire.” But then my Mom in heaven whispers a reminder in my year …”you were invited because they love you. Go to the party! Fishing, beer, and campfires will be there, but people only get married once.”
Oh, and when you do go to the party, even if slightly against your will …have a good time. Make it a good time. Make people smile. Help make the event as amazing as it can be for your friend or family member that invited you.
And finally …and this deserves more than four sentences …this is what my Mom did that qualifies her for Greatest Mom Ever.
MY MOM MADE MY DAD A GREAT MAN – I hear things about my Dad and I don’t believe them. I hear he was a trouble maker, drank, smoked, and wasn’t a great student because he wasn’t a hard worker. When I think back on my 45 years, I don’t know that guy. I only know my Dad to be a hard worker – the hardest worker. 50, 60, and 70 hours weeks in a factory (sometimes 120 degrees in the summer) for 37 years. I’ve never seen him with a drink or cigarette in his hand. And I never saw him treat my Mom any other way than with love and commitment. Sure, they had their arguments, but it never lasted longer (think of fights siblings might have …you get over it). There’s a tale to tell about how my Dad changed, when he changed, and why he changed …and I think his grandkids should know. I recently told my son and my son was shocked. Just a side note …I told my son about my own youthful indiscretions, and about his Grandpa, because I wanted him to know the 74-year-old Grandpa and his 45-year-old Father …we aren’t perfect, and certainly weren’t perfect, but life is a continual journey towards perfection. Thank goodness the guy I was at 16, 17, 20, and 21-years-old wasn’t the best I would ever be.
Yes. Mom made my Dad a better version of himself. And because of that, I can follow his lead, learn from the amazing things he did and does, and from the mistakes he made. That started with my Mom.
My hope, and my belief, is that the true measure of Moms aren’t about their cooking, hugs, and ability to pick out the exact right gift at birthday and Christmas because they listen so well and know us so well, but for their constant and subtle prodding and pushing to make us all better people.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Miss you every day.