As a kid, long before I knew what it meant, I called my mother “Mommie Dearest.” If you don’t know what it means, Google it. Don’t worry, I’ll wait.
It was my mom’s idea for me to call her that. If you think that growing up with a mom with that twisted sense of humor was awesome, you’d be absolutely correct.
I know we must’ve had some disagreements and arguments, but they are cloudy in my memory. What I mostly remember about growing up is having a good time.
I remember my mom taking me to library school, where the librarian read all the kids a story before we selected a big stack of books to take home. Riding the little carousel pony outside Giant Eagle after we finished our grocery shopping. Watching General Hospital together with religious devotion. When my dad worked nights, mom and I would sometimes read magazines quietly together while we ate at the dinner table. And sometimes, we just ate popcorn. We spent summer days laying around in the pool and playing in the backyard. We took long walks after dinner all through my childhood and right up through my college years where I would tell her everything that was going on in my life.
My mom has always—still does—wanted to know everything that I am up to. What is going on at school or work, who my friends are, what I’m eating. I guess maybe all good mothers do that.
She never made me feel like I wasn’t living up to her standards—I never felt like she and my dad had any standards for me. By that I mean that they wanted nothing more than for me to grow up polite, kind, and happy. Beyond that, my life belonged to me.
My mom wasn’t the type to run the PTA. She watched me play softball and volleyball, but she never pretended I was a sports prodigy and the idea of yelling at an umpire or telling a coach how to do his job never occurred to her. She felt that sports were all about teaching kids how to win and more importantly, how to lose. And honestly, sometimes I caught her in the stands reading the Soap Opera Digest instead of paying attention. But I didn’t mind. It was something I’ve always loved about her—that the fate of the world didn’t turn on my hitting a home run in the bottom of the ninth. That most things didn’t need to be taken all that seriously. And that there was no time as wasted as that spent trying to impress others.
It wasn’t all fun and games, of course. There were many times my mom had to step up—to guide me if I was starting down a wrong path, to protect me, to punish me when I’d done something wrong. To comfort me when I was sad.
But mostly, it felt like she was having just as much fun as I was. She never made me feel like being my mother was a pain, or a drag, or something she didn’t feel like dealing with right that minute.
She always acts likes she won the lottery when she got me for a kid.
I feel the same way about getting her for my mom.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mommie Dearest!