Monday, November 7, 2011

You've Made Your Bed, So Don't Lie or Lay in It.

My mom has the greatest sense of humor and sense of playfulness.  She was always doing something funny.  One Sunday afternoon while my dad was taking a nap, she got out the fingernail polish and painted his nails on one hand.  We all had a great laugh until we found out, she was out of nail polish remover.  Back in the day on Sunday, NOTHING was open, no stores, she went to the next door neighbor we had never met and asked the lady if she had any remover.  My mom tends to the shy side, so this was a huge deal for her to go next door. 

Mom is not a big game player and the only time she would play board games with us was when it stormed.  She hated storms!  She was afraid of lightning and thunder.  So playing a board game with us helped her take her mind off of the weather.  She never really sat down and played with us but she did help us make some great forts out of blankets.  She would let my brother and I play in the sacred living room, but only if we would promise to have everything picked up before my father got home.  Oh yeah, she said that a lot...wait until your father gets home.  She sent me to my room a lot to think about what I had done but being ADD, my attention span on my wrongs and what I could do to make them right lasted only a few minutes.  The next thing you'd know, I had stuff pulled out and I was playing or I would be reading a book.  When she'd come back to my room so that I could tell her where I went wrong and apologize, she'd be a little miffed that I had gone onto other activities and hadn't given my wrong doing too much thought.  When my nieces were into Barbie dolls, we were playing Barbie's one night.  My parents had recently unearthed my 1960 Barbie and the girls had theirs.  It was a rare occasion that my mom joined in to play.  You know what playing Barbie is like, they hop around to everything, you make them talk in falsetto voices, and other than driving Barbie's car, Barbie and her friends just shop and take naps.  We could tell this whole Barbie lifestyle was not sitting well with my mom.  She stood up and announced that until we could play Barbie's in a way that had some focus or direction or schedule that didn't include shopping and naps, she would be back to play.  That whole memory just cracks me up because maybe somewhere deep inside her she had once had more focus, direction and schedule but two kiddos and a husband sometimes messes up that whole scenario. 

My mother was my first audience.  I was always putting on some type of production where I played all the parts.  My best thing was lip syncing to her records.  She had some great records both 78 and long play.  Only those above the age of 50 are going to know what I am talking about.  The rule, if you used her records, you had to be very, very careful with them.  Once my brother broke one of her records, so she went into his bedroom and broke one of his. I think it was Scruffy the Tugboad.  My brother and I were speechless because this was so out of character for my mother.  It is ironic that my mom who had great music disliked, no really hated musicals, especially Oklahoma.  I would sing songs from it when I wanted to tease her or maybe even aggravate her.  My mom's take on musicals, they are telling a perfectly good story and then they have to ruin everything by singing songs. 

I think I get my love of writing letters and sending cards from my mom.  We would go to the drug store and read the cards to one another and laugh ourselves silly.  She was known for giving great birthday cards.  They always fit the person.  She would see a card and say, I'll get this and send it to __________ for their birthday.  My mom corresponded with her mother religiously and she had childhood friends who kept up with each other through life.  My mom would be so delighted when she had received a letter or card in the mail. 

Even though Alzheimer's has taken so much from my mom, there is one thing she did everyday until almost the end of living in their home, she made the bed.  She really didn't like an unmade bed and making the bed was one of the first things she had us do when we woke up...make that bed.  To this day, rarely a day goes by that I don't make the bed.  It just sets a completeness to the beginning of the day or something. 

I'm not too sure about this, but I think I wasn't that pleasant to be around when I was in junior high.  Seems like there was a lot of angst and tears.  The battle within still wanting to be a child yet at the same time I was feeling all grown up and like all 12-14 year olds, I believed I knew quite a bit and had all the answers.  Funny how as we mature most of us grow out of being a know it all.  Since this back in the olden days where girls had to wear dresses or skirts every day to school, I suddenly fell in love with wearing skirts.  Why?  Because my mom would kiss me goodbye and watch me walk down the sidewalk, but once I was out of her sight, you got to know I was rolling that skirt at the waist band so I would be in fashion with all the other cool and yes, we were all insecure girls.  I also would get my socks off to complete the total complete cool look.  At the end of the school day I did the whole process in reverse so that once I arrived home, my mom would see me just as she had when I left in the morning.  Years later she told me she knew I was rolling my skirts and ditching my socks.   Seems like I had an inordinate amount of blisters on my feet during those years. 

During junior high I had to take two semesters of home ec.  I did ok in the cooking and foods semester but I did horrible in the sewing semester.  I got the mumps and missed quite a bit of school that semester.  Since the home ec teacher and I didn't see eye to eye, what me be a smart Alic?  Anyway, she let me take the dress I was working on, probably more like butchering, home one night to complete it.  Mom to the rescue.  She made that dress and only made a B.  Unfortunately, her daughter had forgotten to bring home the facing pieces and thus my mom made due with what fabric we had.  The B came because we didn't have the required 3 inches of facing around the arm holes. 

I just had this great thought...if a kiss doesn't wake her up maybe I will go over there and sing some songs from Oklahoma.  Nah, I don't want her leaving this world thinking...Nancy, you and I were having a perfectly good talking and sharing your heart with me...we were remembering some of the most wonderful stories of our lives and then you have to go ruin it by singing songs. 

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